College and University Presidents Urge Congress to Pass Legislation Protecting Dreamers
October 19, 2017

More than 800 college and university presidents have signed their institutions on to a letter sent today urging Congress to pass legislation as soon as possible to permanently protect Dreamers, the group of outstanding young people brought to the United States as children.

“Colleges and universities have seen these remarkable people up close, in our classrooms and as our colleagues and friends. Despite the challenges they face, they have made incredible contributions to our country and its economy and security,” the letter to congressional leaders states. “They should continue to be able to do so. If we are unable to protect these Dreamers, we will be shutting the door to an entire generation of individuals who seek to contribute their best to America.”

Many higher education organizations assisted in compiling this letter. The effort was coordinated by ACE on behalf of the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition, which is made up of major higher education associations representing a broad range of institutions and groups at U.S. colleges and universities. It notes there is widespread, bipartisan support across the country on the need to protect Dreamers. It was sent during Protect Dreamers higher education theme week, part of larger community advocacy initiatives that include business, tech and immigration rights groups. 

Roughly 350,000 of the 800,000 individuals with DACA status are enrolled in school or college. ACE’s blog, Higher Education Today, is featuring Faces of Dreamers as another way to tell the stories of this high-achieving and talented group of individuals, who work and pay taxes, attend colleges and serve in the military.

In addition, the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition provides information and resources allowing campus leaders, staff, faculty and students to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of Dreamers on college and university campuses. Among the potential activities: write op-eds featuring student Dreamers and their achievements; contact members of Congress; mobilize alumni networks; and invite lawmakers to campus to meet with student Dreamers.

The advocacy efforts will continue throughout the fall as Congress considers what to do in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. 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.