Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition

 

​​​​​Latest Developments

  • An amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by ACE and 43 other higher education associations says the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy “has made it newly possible for countless Dreamers to get a postsecondary education and unlock the potential such an education affords." Read more.
  • More than 600 college and university presidents have signed their institutions on to a letter urging Congress to act now to pass long overdue bipartisan legislation providing permanent protection for Dreamers. Read more.

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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 The Trump administration rescinded the policy Sept. 5, 2017, but delayed ending it until March 5, 2018.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).


 What is DACA

Eligibility Qualifications

  • Under age 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Entered U.S. prior to age 16
  • At least 15 years old at time of request
  • Resided continuously in U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • Have not committed a felony or significant misdemeanor
  • Currently enrolled in high school, have graduated high school, earned a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces

What protection does DACA grant?

  • Renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation
  • Eligibility for a work permit
  • A Social Security card
  • A driver’s license

 Who is DACA

 Support for DACA

According to a Fox News poll:

  • 62% of voters say it is extremely or very important for Congress to pass immigration law that will address Dreamers
  • 86% of voters support work permits and 79% support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, under the age of 30 brought here as children, provided they pass a background check

Business and industry leaders support a legislative fix for DACA:

  • Over 800 business and industry leaders sent a letter to congressional leadership on September 20, 2017, asking Congress to provide a permanent legislative solution
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called on the administration and Congress to work together to quickly find a legislative solution before the program expires on March 5, 2018

Strengthening the U.S. Economy

The talented young people with DACA status are working, serving in the military or studying at colleges and universities. Because they now have work permits, they are contributing to our society and the overall U.S. economy. They are paying taxes and buying cars, homes, and consumer goods, which generates economic activity and increases tax revenue for federal, state and local governments. However, while they contribute significantly to the economy, they are ineligible for federal means-tested welfare benefits, Pell Grants and federal student loans, and health care tax subsidies.

Many of these young people live in fear and uncertainty now that DACA has been rescinded and Congress has not yet taken action. Many DACA students are struggling to plan how to pay for their education beyond the spring 2018 semester.

According to a recent study by the conservative CATO Institute, a repeal or rollback of DACA would harm the economy and reduce tax revenue. CATO estimates that deporting those with DACA status would cost over $60 billion in lost tax revenue and result in a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade.

A study from the Center for American Progress found that DACA recipients make positive and significant contributions to the economy, including earning higher wages, which translates into higher tax revenue and economic growth. A recent survey found that 69 percent of respondents reported moving to a job with better pay after receiving DACA status.

Estimated Annual GDP Loss From Removing DACA Workers by U.S. Congressional District

From the University of Southern California Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration and the Center for American Progress

Suggested Advocacy Activities

​​​As part of larger community advocacy efforts, campus leaders, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contact members of Congress and engage in advocacy activities that highlight the accomplishments and contributions of Dreamers on college and university campuses.

  • Send a letter to your senators and representative.
  • Use the talking points in communication with members of Congress (updated February 2019). 
  • Share the Protect Dreamers Fact Sheet with your congressional delegation.  
  • Use your alumni network to amplify your message.  
  • Write op-eds co-authored by presidents/provosts and student Dreamers for the local newspaper and/or pitch profiles of student Dreamers to local media outlets.
  • Invite senators and representatives to visit campus and meet Dreamers and hear their stories.  
  • Submit videos and institutional material supporting Dreamers to jriskind@acenet.edu that​ might be shared on the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition website or other channels.  ​​
  • Share messages on social media to amplify the higher education message. Share your stories with @ACEducation on Twitter using the #ProtectDreamers hashtag.

American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6) Populations and Their Economic Contributions by Congressional District

Click the map to see the full interactive version from the University of Southern California Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration

A graphic of a map of the United States, color colded to show data.

The Coalition

​The Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition is made up of major higher education associations representing a broad range of institutions and groups at U.S. colleges and universities. Members include:

​American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers

American Association of Community Colleges

American Association of State Colleges and Universities

American College Health Association

American Council on Education

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education​

Association of American Medical Colleges

Association of American Universities

Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges

Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Association of Research Libraries

College and University Professional Association for Human Resources

Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area

Council for Advancement and Support of Education​

Council for Christian Colleges & Universities​

Council of Graduate Schools

Council on Social Work Education

EDUCAUSE

Graduate Management Admission Council

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

National Association for College Admission Counseling

National Association for Multicultural Education

National Association of Colleges and Employers

National Association of College and University Business Officers

National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

Society for College and University Planning

 
 

​Help Support the Dreamers

In early June, the House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), legislation that would allow some undocumented young people to earn lawful permanent residency in the United States and provide a path to citizenship. The U.S. Senate now needs to take up the bill, and needs to hear from the higher education community about why we support our Dreamers.

​Contact CongressFaces of Dreamers

Explore More

Letter to Senate Leaders Urging Passage of Legislation to Protect Dreamers

From ACE and 43 other higher education organizations​

Letter to Senate Leaders From Health Professions Organizations in Support of Legislation to Protect Dreamers

Letter to the House of Representatives on the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6)​
From ACE and 37 other higher education organizations

Letter from more than 800 college and university presidents to Congress urging action to protect Dreamers

Statement From AASCU President Muriel Howard on the Termination of the DACA Program
American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on the Trump Administration’s Reported Decision to End DACA
American Council on Education

Association of American Medical Colleges
Health professions organizations letter to Congress

AAU President Condemns Administration's Decision to End DACA
Association of American Universities

Association of American Universities
Institutional sign-on letter to congressional leadership to enact a permanent legislative solution to address DACA

AIEA Statement on Rescission of the U.S. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Order
Association of International Education Administrators

APLU Urges Congress to Take Swift Action to Protect DACA Participants
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

AJCU Statement on DACA Rescission
Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities

FWD.us industry and technology leadership letter
Letter to congressional leadership, signed by over 800 business leaders

Statement by CCCU President on End of DACA
Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

Ending DACA Shuts the Door on the American Dream for Hundreds of Thousands of Aspiring Americans
NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Defending DACA Recipients ​(University of California)
Read the latest news and information about the Supreme Court case, student profiles and a link to a digital advocacy toolkit. 

Nearly 100,000 Unauthorized Immigrants Graduate from High School Every Year​
Migration Policy Institute (April 2019)

Congress must end the purgatory for ‘dreamers’​ 
ACE President Ted Mitchell's op-ed in The Washington Post (Nov. 9, 2018) 

Issue Brief on the Trump Administration's Rescission of DACA

Protect Dreamers Higher Education Week Infographic (From the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and the Hispanic Education Coalition)

Georgetown University Facebook Live: Dreamers Making a Difference on Campuses and In Communities (view archived event)
A conversation with Ángel Cabrera, president of George Mason University (VA); DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College (MD); and Scott Ralls, president of Northern Virginia Community College. Moderated by Georgetown President John J. DeGioia.

EDUCATION, NOT DEPORTATION! Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status
Roundtable hosted by National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
Read a summary of the event in Diverse: Issues In Higher Education

Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities​ DACA resources

Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges resources for university and college trustees

The Dream Coalition is an organization consisting of business, civic, and national security leaders, and elected officials with a unified commitment to ensuring Dreamers can live, work, serve, and study in the United States without fear or threat of deportation.

Rural DACA By the Numbers
Joint Economic Committee Democrats 

DACA Stats and Facts
A project of the UC San Diego U.S. Immigration Policy Center​

​​Contact the Coalition

For more information and to share resources, contact Jonathan Riskind, assistant vice president, ACE Public Affairs.​​​