DACA and Dreamers

The Issue

​​​​In 2001, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would create a process by which immigrants could apply for conditional residency that would lead to permanent residency based upon their age of entry into the United States. Despite numerous reintroductions in each Congress from 2001 to 2021, the DREAM Act has failed to pass.​

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 The Trump administration rescinded the policy in September 2017, but subsequent court decisions allowed the program to continue in some form. 

Currently, the DACA program is not allowed to accept new applications. The most recent court decision ruled that the Obama administration did not have the authority to create the program and that it is up to Congress to make this important program permanent in some way. ACE advocates on behalf of the Dreamers, urging Congress to pass legislation to grant them permanent legal status and other protections. ​

Our Work

​Amicus Briefs, Letters, and More

Letter of Support for the FY 2022 Budget Reconciliation Bill
Letter of Support for the FY 2022 Budget Reconciliation Bill
Letter to the House Education and Labor Committee in support of the investments this legislation makes in students, educators, and institutions, and requesting lawmakers to include funding to double the maximum Pell Grant award.
Letter to Congress Urging Support for Legislation to Protect DACA Recipients and Other Dreamers
Letter to Congress Urging Support for Legislation to Protect DACA Recipients and Other Dreamers
ACE and other associations urge Congress to permanently protect DACA recipients and Dreamers following the Texas court decision that found the Obama administration acted illegally in establishing DACA through executive action.
Key Immigration Priorities for the Higher Education Community in 2021
Key Immigration Priorities for the Higher Education Community in 2021
These key priorities will help guide the higher education community’s consideration of proposed immigration legislation as we work to modernize our immigration system.
Summary of the Higher Education Provisions in the U.S. Citizenship Act
Summary of the Higher Education Provisions in the U.S. Citizenship Act
The U.S. Citizenship Act was introduced Feb. 18, 2021, by Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Linda Sanchez. This bill follows a promise from President Biden that he would send an immigration package to Congress at the start of his administration.
Letter to Senate Leadership in Support of the Dream Act 2021
Letter to Senate Leadership in Support of the Dream Act 2021
The Dream Act would allow some undocumented young people, who have already invested in our country and in whom the country has already invested, to earn lawful permanent residence in the United States and ultimately a path to full citizenship.
Letter to Acting Secretary of Education on Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds
Letter to Acting Secretary of Education on Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds
ACE and other higher ed associations ask for clarification that emergency relief funds in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 can be used to help all students, including undocumented and international students.
Letter to Education Secretary-designate About Higher Education Priorities
Letter to Education Secretary-designate About Higher Education Priorities
Letter to Education Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona about the higher education community's priorities for the Biden administration, including additional emergency COVID-19 relief.
Executive Action Priorities for Higher Education Under the Biden Administration
Executive Action Priorities for Higher Education Under the Biden Administration
Letter to the Biden-Harris transition team on the Trump administration's executive actions of concern to students, educators, and institutions that could be reversed by the Biden administration.
Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on the Trump Administration's Challenge to DACA
Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on the Trump Administration's Challenge to DACA
ACE and 43 other higher education associations submitted this amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to affirm lower court decisions keeping in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy the Trump administration rescinded in 2017.
Letter From Colleges and Universities in Support of Dreamers
Letter From Colleges and Universities in Support of Dreamers
Over 600 institutions sent this letter to Congress urging a permanent legislative solution for the young, undocumented individuals brought to the United States as children.
Letter Urging Senate to Pass Legislation to Protect Dreamers
Letter Urging Senate to Pass Legislation to Protect Dreamers
Letter to Senate leadership requesting they make legislation to permanently protect Dreamers a priority.
Letter to the House Judiciary Committee on Dream Act and American Promise Act
Letter to the House Judiciary Committee on Dream Act and American Promise Act
Letter to the House Judiciary Committee in support of the Dream Act of 2019 (H.R. 2820) and the American Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 2821).
Letter to the House on the Dream and Promise Act of 2019
Letter to the House on the Dream and Promise Act of 2019
ACE and 37 other higher education organizations sent a letter to the House of Representatives in support of the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6).
Letter From College and University Presidents Urging Congress to Take Action to Protect Dreamers
Letter From College and University Presidents Urging Congress to Take Action to Protect Dreamers
More than 800 college and university presidents and chancellors sent a letter to Congress urging them to take action on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Letter to DHS Secretary Requesting DACA Deadline Extension for Hurricane Survivors
Letter to DHS Secretary Requesting DACA Deadline Extension for Hurricane Survivors
ACE President Ted Mitchell wrote to Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke asking for a short extension of the filing deadline and fee waivers for those individuals covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) p...
Talking Points and Other Resources on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Talking Points and Other Resources on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
The Trump administration is in the process of phasing out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. These talking points and other material can be used as background information in discussing the status of DACA with members of Congress and others.
Letter to Congress on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Letter to Congress on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
ACE and 78 other associations sent this letter urging Congress to pass legislation as soon as possible to permanently protect the nearly 800,000 individuals currently protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Issue Brief: Rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Issue Brief: Rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
In the wake of the Trump administration’s rollback of Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), ACE has prepared this issue brief detailing the key elements of the administration’s “DACA Rescission Memorandum” and how it will impact students and ca...
Letter to President Trump on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Letter to President Trump on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
ACE and 36 other associations sent a letter to President Trump on August 29 urging the administration to keep DACA intact until a permanent solution can be reached.
Letter of Support for the Dream Act of 2017
Letter of Support for the Dream Act of 2017
ACE and 32 other higher education associations are urging the Senate to approve the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017, which would allow a select group of talented young undocumented immigrants—commonly known as Dreamers—to earn lawful permanent residence a...
Letter From College and University Presidents to President Trump About Dreamers
Letter From College and University Presidents to President Trump About Dreamers
Signed by more than 560 college and university presidents, this letter thanks President Trump for his positive comments about “Dreamers” and asks him to allow these productive and high-achieving individuals to continue working and studying while his ad...

​Latest News

Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Reconciliation Legislation Agreement
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Reconciliation Legislation Agreement
We are appreciative of the higher education support that is included in this legislation and will work closely with the administration and Congress to build on this beginning.
What’s Going on With Budget Reconciliation, and Why Should Higher Ed Care?
What’s Going on With Budget Reconciliation, and Why Should Higher Ed Care?
ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle and dotedu host Sarah Spreitzer unpack where Congress stands on reconciliation and what it means for students and institutions.
House Committee Approves Substantial Increases for Higher Education Programs, Student Aid in Reconciliation Bill
House Committee Approves Substantial Increases for Higher Education Programs, Student Aid in Reconciliation Bill
The House Education and Labor Committee has advanced its portion of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, proposing to invest roughly $111 billion in higher education programs and federal student aid.
Senate Budget Blueprint Includes Support for Free Community College, Other Higher Ed Priorities
Senate Budget Blueprint Includes Support for Free Community College, Other Higher Ed Priorities
In quick succession last week, the Senate passed its long-awaited $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and a budget resolution that includes free community college, support for HBCUs, and a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
 dotEDU Brief: Broadband Access, Free Community College, Support for Dreamers All on the Table
dotEDU Brief: Broadband Access, Free Community College, Support for Dreamers All on the Table
The hosts discuss the Senate’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package which includes support for expanding broadband access, before diving into the FY 2022 budget resolution and its provisions for free community college and more for higher ed.
Higher Education, Business Leaders Continue to Urge Help for Dreamers From White House, Congress
Higher Education, Business Leaders Continue to Urge Help for Dreamers From White House, Congress
ACE and 60 other higher education groups ask congressional leaders to quickly pass legislation to permanently protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Dreamers.
Episode 39: A Conversation With NASPA’s SA: Voices From the Field Podcast
Episode 39: A Conversation With NASPA’s SA: Voices From the Field Podcast
Jon and Sarah are joined for a special crossover episode by Jill Creighton to talk about how COVID-19 has affected student life, the impact Title IX regulations are having on campuses and the future of those regulations, and other issues.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on House Passage of the American Dream and Promise Act
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on House Passage of the American Dream and Promise Act
We applaud the House for approving the American Dream and Promise Act, which would enact long-needed permanent protections for Dreamers, those bright and talented individuals brought to this country as children.
Comprehensive Immigration Legislation Would Provide Protection for Dreamers, Support for International Students
Comprehensive Immigration Legislation Would Provide Protection for Dreamers, Support for International Students
The U.S. Citizenship Act, a sweeping immigration bill that would create an eight-year path to citizenship for millions of immigrants already in the country and provide an even faster track for Dreamers, was introduced Feb. 18.
Associations Urge Biden Administration to Consider Policies and Practices to Help International Students, Dreamers
Associations Urge Biden Administration to Consider Policies and Practices to Help International Students, Dreamers
ACE and other higher education organizations are looking at specific policies that can help the Biden-Harris administration restore the United States’ global standing in the world and prioritize reforming the nation’s immigration system.
Biden Executive Orders Preserve DACA, Extend Student Loan Deferrals, More
Biden Executive Orders Preserve DACA, Extend Student Loan Deferrals, More
In his first days in office, President Joe Biden has focused on reversing a number of Trump administration policies, as well as introducing new measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Biden Administration DACA Action and Immigration Proposal
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Biden Administration DACA Action and Immigration Proposal
We applaud President Biden for acting swiftly to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and propose legislation making the program permanent and Dreamers eligible for citizenship.
Episode 28: Dreamers and Immigration Policy: Past, Present, Future
Episode 28: Dreamers and Immigration Policy: Past, Present, Future
Listen to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker, and immigration rights activist, Jose Antonio Vargas talk about the prospects of DACA, immigration policy in general, and what colleges and universities can do to help.
Trump Administration Will Reject New DACA Applications While Deciding Future of the Program
Trump Administration Will Reject New DACA Applications While Deciding Future of the Program
The Trump administration announced that it will reject new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, despite a federal judge’s order that said new applicants must be considered.
DACA and Dreamers: A Conversation with Jose Antonio Vargas
DACA and Dreamers: A Conversation with Jose Antonio Vargas
Jointly presented by ACE and AASCU, Jose Antonio Vargas will discuss the Supreme Court decision against ending the DACA program with AASCU President Mildred García. Generously supported by Fidelity Investments.
Episode 24: Supreme Court Protects DACA, LGBTQ Workers; Prioritizing DEI During COVID-19
Episode 24: Supreme Court Protects DACA, LGBTQ Workers; Prioritizing DEI During COVID-19
Hosts Jon Fansmith and Lorelle Espinosa discuss the recent Supreme Court decisions on DACA and LGBTQ workers, and are joined by Lori White, incoming president of DePauw University, to talk about the fall semester.
Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration From Ending DACA
Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration From Ending DACA
In a long-anticipated ruling, the Supreme Court yesterday voted 5 to 4 to reject the Trump administration's 2017 attempt to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on U.S. Supreme Court DACA Decision
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on U.S. Supreme Court DACA Decision
We are extremely gratified that the Supreme Court has kept DACA in place. It's now time for Congress to act.
Remember the Dreamers: Groups Launch New Website to Support Dreamers, DACA Recipients
Remember the Dreamers: Groups Launch New Website to Support Dreamers, DACA Recipients
ACE and a coalition of partners have launched a new website to support Dreamers and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients as they await the Supreme Court’s decision on whether President Trump illegally ended DACA in 2017.
dotEDU Episode 19: A College at the Crossroads of COVID-19 and DACA
dotEDU Episode 19: A College at the Crossroads of COVID-19 and DACA
Carrie Hauser, president of Colorado Mountain College, talks with co-hosts Jon Fansmith and Lorelle Espinosa about how her institution has responded to the pandemic and how its unique, interest-free income share agreement for DACA students has adapted.
Colorado Mountain College Creates Unique Tuition Assistance Program for DACA, Other Students
Colorado Mountain College Creates Unique Tuition Assistance Program for DACA, Other Students
In Colorado, undocumented students—who cannot apply for most financial aid—now have at least one more option as they decide how to finance their degree.
 
 
 


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.

Explore

​Together We Can


Together we can champion equity, secure a path to citizenship, advocate for doubling the Pell Grant, strengthen campus mental health, support international students, and improve global relationships. Learn more about how we can—together.

Watch the Video