UC President Janet Napolitano joined leaders Timothy P. White of the California State University system, and Eloy Ortiz Oakley, of the California Community Colleges, in writing to President-elect Donald Trump, vowing to defy any attempts he undertakes to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the 2012 law that allows undocumented students who entered the U.S. as minors and have no significant criminal record, to remain in the country as long as they pursue higher education.

“We urge you to continue this important program,” Napolitano, Eloy and Oakley said in the letter. “And allow these young people to continue to pursue a college education and contribute to their communities and the nation.”

The creation of DACA, they said, is rooted in the premise that no one should be punished for the actions of others and that DACA students are as American as any other child, except for in the eye of the law.

“Some [DACA students] never even spoke the language of their native land. They do not represent a public safety threat. In fact, they represent some of the best our nation has to offer,” they said.

Napolitano and the other authors acknowledged the pushback they may receive from their staunch stance to uphold DACA.

“There will be time for a vigorous debate and dialogue around immigration reform in the days ahead,” they said. “And we look forward to engaging with you in a healthy and constructive conversation on this important issue.”

Various petitions are circulating, demanding that all the UC and UCSC campus, specifically, become a sanctuary school, a zone that would, similar to sanctuary cities, not allow university law enforcement to help deport undocumented students.

“They should be able to pursue their dream of higher education without fear of being arrested, deported or rounded up for just trying to learn,” they said. “On behalf of these Dreamers, we implore you to let them know they are valued members of our communities and that they will be allowed to continue to pursue the American dream.”