Presidents’ Alliance: Administration’s Immigration Proposal Must Also Protect Dreamers

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FOR IMMEDIATE  RELEASE
May 23, 2019
CONTACT: Jose Magaña-Salgado (jose@presidentsimmigrationalliance.org)

Washington, D.C.—Having carefully reviewed the administration’s immigration proposal, we offer the following remarks on behalf of our over 400 college and university president members:

We urge the administration to work closely and in good faith with Congress to fashion a bipartisan immigration proposal. No immigration proposal can become law that does not incorporate the views and priorities of members of Congress in both houses from both parties and all regions of the country, especially the long-standing, bi-partisan support of majority of Americans to protect Dreamers from deportation and provide them a roadmap to citizenship. Far from being a divisive issue, it is the one issue for which there is strong bipartisan legislative support.

We are heartened by the Administration’s recognition of the talent, contributions, and potential of international students and alumni and agree wholeheartedly that our immigration policies should encourage and facilitate their ability to stay, work, and contribute to our country. We do note that family unification, including the ability to bring aging parents and other loved ones to live close by and be able to care for them is not only humane, but critical to retaining the scholars, scientists, doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs the administration seeks to prioritize admitting. Congress should carefully review the administration’s recommendations regarding family unification.

The absence in the administration’s proposal of any measures to provide Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and other immigrants a roadmap to citizenship is deeply disappointing. A commonsense immigration proposal should recognize the enormous talent, drive, and contributions of the immigrants in our country, some with decades of residency.

Approximately one million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and TPS holders continue to live in a state of untenable legal uncertainty. Temporarily stayed by multiple federal courts, the end of DACA means that DACA recipients face a future with the loss of employment and access to postsecondary education. Nearly 100,000 undocumented students graduate from high school every year, and many hope to attend college and further their education to better contribute to their communities and our nation. They too, are part of America’s future.

The administration should incorporate a fair and just roadmap to citizenship for the nation’s undocumented population, including Dreamers and TPS recipients; and enact reforms to ensure the United States remains a top destination for international students and scholars.

Finally, increases in one area of immigration should not necessitate corresponding decreases in another. Diversity drives excellence and immigration to the United States in all its forms—family-based, employment-based, and humanitarian—drives American prosperity and innovation. As a country and nation, we are stronger for it. In striving for a twenty-first century approach to immigration, we should recognize the value of this diversity.

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The non-partisan Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings together college and university leaders dedicated to increasing public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses and communities, and supporting policies that create a welcoming environment for undocumented, immigrant, and international students. The Alliance is comprised of over 430 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, representing over four million students in 41 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.