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ACE, Higher Education Associations Urge Congress to Act Now to Find Bipartisan Solution to Protect Dreamers

February 05, 2018

 

ACE and 18 other higher education associations today sent a letter to congressional leaders urging lawmakers to move swiftly to pass bipartisan legislation offering permanent protections to Dreamers.

The letter notes that a month from today, on March 5, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy will end and, “when it does, hundreds of thousands of bright and talented young people are at risk of being deported from the only country they have called home.”

There have been several developments in recent days indicating potential progress.

President Trump has proposed that Congress approve a fix that would extend legal status to 1.8 million Dreamers, including all of those who have been enrolled in DACA, and provide them with a pathway to citizenship. The president unveiled this as part of a “four pillars” immigration proposal that also includes funding for his desired border wall and changes to legal immigration such as limits on family reunification. However, the inclusion of the border wall and proposed changes to legal immigration were rejected by Democrats and the proposal is unlikely to receive the bipartisan support needed to pass the Senate.  

And over the weekend, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) said they are introducing​ a more narrow plan that offers a path to citizenship for Dreamers and orders a comprehensive study to determine what border-security measures are needed—but stops short of supplying immediate funding for the president’s desired border wall or changing current legal immigration laws. Their proposal comes as Congress faces another deadline later this week for a short-term spending bill to avoid a federal government shutdown, and immigration has been one of the most contentious issues when it comes to finalizi​​​ng FY18 spending.

However, Politico ​reported this morning that lawmakers also are weighing a temporary extension of perhaps one year that offers continued protections for Dreamers along with some additional funding for border security.

The letter from ACE and the other associations calls on Congress to find a bipartisan solution and not leave Dreamers in limbo any longer.

“These outstanding individuals are Americans in every way but immigration status, and are making countless positive contributions to our nation,” the letter states. “We would not tolerate any other segment of our population, let alone a group of such high-achieving individuals as the DACA beneficiaries, being left in limbo this way.”

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