SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Jeff Lee says he feels helpless over the Trump administration's decision to end "DACA."
"To know that some of our students, despite what they've been working toward and what we've been working toward… can just have that all taken away," he said.
But Lee, who teaches international students at UC Davis, is also hopeful now that the University of California is suing the US government to block President Trump's plan to end the program that helps many of his undocumented students stay in the country.
Thousands of so-called dreamers who came to the U.S. illegally as children rallied against President Trump's decision to repeal DACA.
But attorneys say the lawsuit by the University of California, the first university to challenge the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, may be the most effective show of force yet to save them.
"This is a major development," said Attorney Luis Cespedes.
Cespedes says the University of California has a high chance of prevailing because students have the right to due process and the university has a vested interest in protecting that right.
"They admitted people to spots through an admissions process…they have trained these students. They have invested scholarship and grant money," he said.
UC President Janet Napolitano, who, as the Secretary of Homeland Security, helped write DACA, says 4,000 UC students futures are at stake. But many of their peers don't agree with the Obama-era law that lets them attend school or work here legally.
"Well, DACA was an unconstitutional executive order. As a political science major it's upsetting that they're not talking about how President Obama usurped the legislature in passing DACA," said Andrew Mendoza of the Davis College Republicans.
President Trump also cited legal concerns over DACA before announcing his administration would phase out the program. But dreamers are sure they'll be defended in court.