Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on the Trump Administration’s Reported Decision to End DACA
September 04, 2017

“We are extremely disappointed that, according to multiple media reports, the Trump administration tomorrow will announce that it is rescinding a policy that has allowed a group of exceptional young people brought to this country as infants or children, to make contributions to American society and the economy by working, serving in the military or attending college.

Taking action to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, even with a reported six month delay, will throw the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people and their families into turmoil. To our students, and all those who are potentially affected, be assured that the nation’s colleges and universities will actively, strongly and persistently urge Congress to swiftly approve legislation to enable you to maintain your current status.

Lawmakers have expressed bipartisan support for DACA recipients and, if the Trump administration does take this action, will now have the responsibility to act quickly to head off this shortsighted decision, one that will do great harm to our national interest. Ending this program without first enacting a permanent legislative solution would torment hundreds of thousands of bright and talented individuals who were granted temporary permission to stay in the United States and obtain work permits under DACA. They are paying taxes and buying homes, cars and consumer goods. Their economic activity has increased tax revenues for federal, state and local governments.

In March, more than 560 college and university presidents urged President Trump to commit to allowing these productive and high-achieving young people to continue to work and study in the United States while his administration and Congress seek just such a permanent solution. Last week, we sent another letter to the White House echoing that charge. Now Congress must pick up the mantle and respond promptly and compassionately.   

There are several models that Congress should consider, including the Dream Act (S. 1615), which ACE and most of the higher education community has long supported. Another path forward would be the BRIDGE Act (S. 128) that Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced earlier this year. At a minimum, we urge Congress to build the current DACA provisions into statute.

The bottom line is that we must find a way to ensure that these extraordinary and gifted young people are allowed to stay in the only country, the only place they know as home. They are Americans, just like their classmates and friends, in every way but immigration status. The only humane thing to do is to ensure that Dreamers can continue to work, serve in the military, attend college and thereby contribute to the health and strength of our institutions, our communities and our nation.”

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