Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:
We welcome the news that bipartisan negotiations are underway to keep the government open. We urge you to seize this moment, if the opportunity arises, and come together as leaders of Congress to resolve what is still an urgent matter before you: to permanently protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients. The high anxiety and uncertainty on our campuses continue as many of our Dreamer students, alumni, and community members, along with those in TPS, fear for their futures and families. A narrowly crafted compromise that includes permanent protections, absent of harsh restrictions or income criteria, for DACA and TPS recipients, and reasonable border security measures, would be an important achievement and a good faith start to future immigration reform discussions.
When we first wrote you last January 2018, urging a narrowly tailored legislative solution to protect DACA, our Alliance was comprised of a little more than 200 college and university presidents and chancellors. Since that time, our numbers have doubled. Our non-partisan Alliance is now over 420 presidents strong. Together we enroll over four million students across 41 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. We have come together because we are committed to supporting undocumented, immigrant, and international students; and are deeply concerned about how changes in our nation’s immigration policies and practices impact our students and campuses and the communities and states we serve.
Since the rescission of DACA by the administration over eighteen months ago, we have been heartened by the bipartisan support we have heard expressed for DACA and Dreamers by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, even as it has fallen short of the goal of enacting legislation that protects immigrant youth and young adults from deportation and puts them on a path to citizenship. Our country’s Dreamers remain in limbo. Only Congress can pass legislation that is needed so that these young people–Americans in all but status– may fulfill their human potential and contribute to our campuses, communities and country.
Our campuses and communities have also benefited directly from the thousands of TPS recipients who are our valued colleagues on campuses across the country. They and their children (often U.S. citizens) are our employees, students, neighbors, and friends. They too live with great uncertainty, at risk of losing their status and work authorization and being forced to leave the United States, where many have been living, raising families, and working for decades.
For us, protecting Dreamers and TPS holders are moral issues that go to the heart of being a country that is just, wise, and compassionate enough to create a roadmap toward full citizenship for those who through their long presence have put down roots and made a life here as contributing members of our communities. We see in our classrooms and labs and among our alumni and workers the drive, accomplishments and potential of these individuals and are convinced that a legislative solution to their predicament is not only the right thing to do by them, but in the best interests of our country.
Protecting DACA and TPS recipients and providing Dreamers with a roadmap to citizenship are not partisan issues. These are broadly held American priorities. In poll after poll, the majority of Americans, including majorities on a bipartisan basis, support legislation to protect DACA recipients and create a permanent pathway. We urge you to end the plight of the 700,000 current DACA recipients and 300,000 TPS recipients, and the suffering of their families and loved ones.
We recognize that bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers and deal with other immigration matters entails compromise, and we support evidence-based, effective, and commonsense policy solutions. As higher education leaders, we are prepared to work with you to ensure U.S. immigration policies are informed by our experiences and convictions so that our nation’s security may be provided for, and our heritage as a nation of immigrants is respected and protected.
Senior Advisor and Co-Chair, Steering Committee
Co-Chair, Steering Committee
Rutgers University – Newark
Noelle E. Cockett
Utah State University
John J. DeGioia
Dorothy J. Leland
University of California, Merced
David W. Oxtoby
Co-Chair, Steering Committee
Eduardo J. Padrón
Miami Dade College
Timothy P. White
California State University
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