The Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition is dedicated to housing information and resources to help campus leaders, staff, faculty and students advocate to Congress on behalf of Dreamers, young people brought to the United States as children and raised as Americans but living under threat of deportation.
In June 2012, President Obama established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy by executive action. DACA allowed undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States at a young age to become eligible for a work permit, a Social Security card, a driver’s license, and deferred deportation. The Trump administration rescinded the policy Sept. 5, 2017, but delayed ending it until March 5, 2018. In granting a six-month delay, President Trump asked Congress to pass legislation to provide a permanent solution for those currently protected under DACA. Congress has not yet acted, but DACA in the months since has been kept alive by court decisions, leaving Dreamers in a political and legal limbo.
To qualify for DACA, applicants must pass a multifaceted and rigorous test including: arriving in the United States before age 16, residing here continuously since 2012, be enrolled in or completed high school, and not have been convicted of a serious crime. About 350,000 young people with DACA status are in school or pursuing higher education.
A quick note on the sometimes confusing use of DACA vs. Dreamers: Dreamers is shorthand for undocumented young people brought to the United States as children and raised as Americans, named for the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act first introduced in Congress 16 years ago but never enacted. Some—but by no means all—of these individuals have DACA status.
The Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition urges Congress to pass bipartisan legislation as soon as possible that will include all the protections currently provided under DACA and allow these individuals to continue contributing to our society and economy by working, serving in the military or attending college. Please join us in spreading the word. For more details on this request, see ACE President Ted Mitchell's op-ed in The Washington Post, Congress must end the purgatory for ‘dreamers’ (Nov. 9, 2018).
For more information or to share resources, email Jonathan Riskind, assistant vice president, ACE Public Affairs.