Higher Education, Business Leaders Continue to Urge Help for Dreamers From White House, Congress
August 09, 2021

​ACE and 60 other higher education groups sent a letter to congressional leaders last week asking lawmakers to quickly pass legislation to permanently protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Dreamers.

This follows a letter and full-page ad on the issue in The New York Times July 29 from leaders of major companies, associations, and organizations across the country to the White House and Congress. Both letters strongly urged Congress to pass legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and allows them to remain in the U.S. to work, attend school, or serve in the military without fear of deportation.

The impetus of this latest show of support was the recent ruling from a federal district judge in Texas that DACA was unlawful and that President Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program by executive order in 2012.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ruled in favor of nine conservative-led states, including Texas, and blocked the Biden administration from accepting new DACA applicants. The ruling does allow for those currently protected by the program to keep their status and allow DACA renewals while the case goes through the appeals process. Notably, Judge Hanen said that “the proper origination point for the DACA program was, and is, Congress.”

The program has been at the center of a prolonged legal battle almost since its inception, culminating in 2020 when the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's plan to dismantle the program. But the Supreme Court ruling was a short-term victory. The Texas-led lawsuit, filed in 2018, was a direct challenge to the legality of DACA itself, which counted more than 636,000 active recipients at the end of last year and has considerable bipartisan support on Capitol Hill as well as broad backing from the American public.

The House took a step in the right direction with the passage of the American Dream and Promise Act in March. That bill, which also passed the House in 2019, would create a process for Dreamers to earn permanent resident status and eventual citizenship. While Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reintroduced the Dream Act of 2021 earlier this year, the Senate has yet to take up the measure.

If you would like to contact your member of Congress to discuss the issue and its impact on your students, see the higher education community’s Remember the Dreamers website.

Remember the Dreamers website logo

The Remember the Dreamers campaign is working to focus Congress on ​​finding a legislative solution for Dreamers and DACA recipients. Working together, the higher education community plays a vital role in both advocating for and assisting these young people, many of whom are students on our campuses.

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