Steering Committee Letter to Senate on Protecting Dreamers and TPS & DED Holders

The Presidents' Alliance Steering Committee transmitted a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives containing its vote recommendation, which urges the House to vote for passage of the bill and against negative amendments.

Steering Committee Letter to Senate Urging it to Protect Dreamers and TPS & DED Holders

Text of the Letter:


June 27, 2019

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20002

Dear Senator:

We write as the Steering Committee for the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration (Presidents’ Alliance) to urge you to support legislation that would provide a roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders. Our Alliance has previously expressed strong support for the bipartisan Dream Act of 2019, S.874 and the SECURE Act, S.879. With the House of Representatives’ passage earlier this month of the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), we now turn to the Senate to move forward in a bipartisan manner and protect these populations. The Senate can act to resolve this exigent situation by taking up at least one of these bills.

The need for relief is urgent, with protections for over 670,000 DACA recipients and 400,000 TPS and DED holders at imminent risk for expiration in the coming years.[2] Without relief, these talented young people are trapped in a cruel and untenable position: raised as Americans, they are hard-working students who believe in and passionately want to contribute to our country, yet they cannot lawfully work, serve in the military, achieve their academic potential or otherwise pursue their dreams at a critically important and formative time in their lives. As presidents and chancellors, committed to developing human potential and preparing young people to lead lives of purpose, we urge you to recognize the humanity and potential of these individuals and to act to protect them from deportation and to create a pathway to their full integration into American life. It is the right thing to do for them and for our country. Indeed, a May 2019 poll reveals that seventy-seven percent of the American public support providing a roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers.[3] Passing Dream and TPS/DED legislation is not only sound policy, but responsive to the needs and desires of the American public.

Further, nearly 100,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools annually. The majority of these students arrived prior to the age of six.[4] Many of the students graduating this year would not have had the opportunity to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) before it was rescinded. Thus, despite their growing up in the United States, their good standing, years of hard work, and our nation’s long-term investment in them, these students also now live in danger of deportation and face significant barriers to their futures. We urge that any legislation being considered apply to these students as well.

We recognize that addressing problems with our immigration system requires compromise.[5] Our over 430 college and university presidents and chancellors strong non-partisan Presidents’ Alliance urges and stands ready to support bipartisan legislation to provide permanent protection for these populations and educational access for these young immigrants.

The plight of Dreamers remains a critical issue for presidents, chancellors, and campuses across the country. We continue to be deeply heartened by the expressions of support for Dreamers we hear from members of both parties. We urge the Senate to act now to provide permanent protections to these valued students and longtime residents.

Sincerely,

Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration Steering Committee

 

[1] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Approximate Active DACA Recipients: As of February 28, 2019 (April 30, 2019), https://www.uscis.gov/tools/reports-studies/immigration-forms-data (filter by “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” category); Temporary Protected Status: Comprehensive Backgrounder, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., Jan. 7, 2019, available at https://cliniclegal.org/resources/temporary-protected-status-comprehensive-backgrounder.

[2] Memorandum from Global Strategy Group on Voters nationwide overwhelmingly support citizenship bill for Dreamers to Interested Parties (May 29, 2019), available at https://www.fwd.us/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/FWD.us-Dreamer-Bill-Memo.pdf.

[3] Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova, How Many Unauthorized Immigrants Graduate from U.S. High Schools Annually?, Migration Policy Institute, April 24, 2019, available at https://www.presidentsimmigrationalliance.org/migration-policy-institute-fact-sheet-on-number-of-dreamers-graduating-from-high-school/.

[4] Letter from Steering Committee, Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration to U.S. Senate (April 24, 2019), available at https://www.presidentsimmigrationalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/2019-04-24-Letter-Steering-Committee-Letter-on-Dream-Act-of-2019-and-SECURE-Act-of-2019.pdf.