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Higher Education Associations Call on Congress to Protect Dreamers

September 13, 2017

Trump Administration Decision to Rescind DACA Puts Onus on House and Senate to Act

​ACE and 78 other associations are among the groups calling on Congress​ to pass legislation as soon as possible to permanently protect Dreamers, young people brought to the United States as children and raised as Americans but living under threat of deportation to home countries they barely know.

Some 800,000 of these individuals currently have status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a policy that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to work and study here legally for two-year renewable terms. President Obama implemented DACA in 2012 after Congress failed to pass the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act—first introduced 16 years ago—which would have offered similar protections. 

The Trump administration announced Sept. 5 that it was rescinding DACA. The policy will be phased out over six months, giving Congress an opportunity to enshrine it in law. (See this ACE issue brief on exactly how winding down DACA will work and what it means for students and campuses.)

At this point, it is unclear if and how Congress will act. The New York Times reported that Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) has pulled back a petition he had initiated to force the House to take up legislation to protect Dreamers, and a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue was canceled this week. 

According to Coffman, the six-month timeframe could be partially responsible for the uncertainty. “With all the other things going on right now, the debt limit, the appropriations, tax reform, it’s not certainly on the top of the agenda right now,” he said. 

What shape a bill would take is also at issue. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), among other Republicans, is advocating for embedding legislation protecting Dreamers within a broader immigration bill, while According to early reports, President Trump was pressing Democrats to pair it with funding for a border wall. However, The Wall Street Journal wrote Tuesday that the White House is now saying Dreamer legislation does not necessarily have to be part of a broader immigration bill.

In their letter to congressional leaders, the associations wrote that, “It remains in America’s best interest to enable [the Dreamers] to use their knowledge, skills and energy to make the strongest possible contribution to our country.”

 “Colleges and universities have seen these remarkable people up close, in our classrooms and as our colleagues and friends,” the groups wrote. “Despite the challenges they face, they have made an incredible mark on our country and economy. 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 only seek to contribute their best to America.”

Of the 800,000 individuals with DACA status, more 300,000 are in college.

A recent study by the CATO Institute found that deporting individuals currently in DACA would cost over $60 billion in lost tax revenue and result in a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade. 

A majority of voters want Congress to pass Dreamer legislation, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, and such a measure also has wide support in the business community and from other organizations across the country.​

Recent Statements of Support for Dreamers: ​

Open Letter From Leaders of American Industry on DACA

Academic Impressions on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA)
Academic Impressions

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

AMA Urges Congress to Take Action to Retain DACA Program Protections
American Medical Association

APA Statement on President Trump's Decision to End DACA
American Psychological Association

Apple CEO Tim Cook Pledges Support to Employees Affected by DACA in New Letter

AAC&U Responds to DACA Decision
Associa​tion of American Colleges & Universities

AAMC Statement on Announcement to Rescind DACA Executive Action
Association of American Medical Colleges

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

ACCU Statement on the Rescinding of DACA
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

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

AJCU Statement on DACA Rescission
Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities

APLU Urges Swift Congressional Action to, At a Minimum, Codify DACA Provisions into Law
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities 

Best Buy CEO Signs Letter Supporting DACA
Best Buy

Business Roundtable Statement on DACA Program
Business Roundtable/JPMorgan Chase & Co

BPC Immigration Task Force Statement on DACA Termination
Bipartisan Policy Center

Campus Compact Statement on DACA​
Campus Compact

CISabroad Statement on DACA

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

Cummins Chairman and CEO Issues Statement in Support of DACA; Urges Congress to Take Immediate Action
Cummins Inc.

Demos Statement in Response to Trump's Reported Repeal of DACA
Demos Statement on the Repeal of DACA

Statement from HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores on Ending DACA, a Heartless Decision
Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities

“I Have A Dream” Foundation Statement on DACA
“I Have A Dream” Foundation

Indivisible Statement on Announcement of Elimination of the DACA Program

Media Statement Re: DACA Termination and Action Needed by Congress
Jewish Family Service

DREAMers Make Our Country and Communities Stronger

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

NACAC Statement on Termination of DACA Program​
National Association for College Admission Counseling

NIJC Denounces Trump's Termination Of DACA Program
National Immigrant Justice Center

Statement on States Lawsuit Challenging Trump Decision to End DACA
National Immigration Law Center

District Response to DACA Decision
Seattle Public Schools

SPLC Statement on President Trump’s Decision to Rescind DACA
Southern Poverty Law Center

Statement: Teach Plus Condemns Today’s Decision to End DACA and Calls on Congress to Take Immediate Action
Teach +Plus

TechNet Statement on DACA Announcement

Support for DACA and Dreamers - We Stand with our Partners

Statement From Randy Falco, President and CEO of UCI, Responding to the Plan to end DACA Program
Univision Communications Inc. 

U.S. Chamber Statement on DACA Decision​
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants Statement on DACA Decision
U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants

U.S. Bishops Executive Committee Release Statement on Administration’s DACA Decision; Calls on Catholic Faithful to Urge Congress to Pass DREAM Act
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Immigrant Groups and Allies Call on Congressional Democrats to Force Vote on Dream Act
United We Dream, National Immigration Law Center and Indivisible Project

800,000 Reasons Why Diversity Matters

WACAC Statement on Termination of DACA Program​​
Wisconsin Association for College Admission Counseling 

Other ACE News


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