TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE U.S. SENATE:
We write in strong support of the efforts being made by members of the House of Representatives to bring bipartisan legislation to the floor that would provide a permanent relief and a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 700,000 current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) recipients.
Indeed, we call on the leadership of both houses to come together as soon as possible to craft and send to the president bipartisan legislation that provides a legislative solution for Dreamers. This legislation is urgently needed, given the harms already being experienced as a result of the legal uncertainty and precarious circumstances in which affected students, families, communities, educational institutions and employers find themselves, and given the potential for even greater harm in light of the tenuous judicial basis on which the DACA program now operates. As you know a majority of Americans, including majorities on a bipartisan basis, support such legislation.
We add our voices to theirs. As a non-partisan alliance of over 365 college and university presidents and chancellors from across the nation, we have seen first-hand the drive, commitment, service-mindedness, and entrepreneurial spirit of Dreamers on our campuses and communities and as our alumni. They are bright, hardworking, entrepreneurial young people whose contributions are already strengthening our country through their work as teachers, nurses, doctors, business owners and service members in our nation’s military.
Given the opportunity to adjust their status, we see in Dreamers the same potential as the millions of immigrants who came before them and who helped make this country what it is today, including those who excelled in our nation’s colleges and universities and joined the next generation of scientists, researchers, engineers, and educational, civic and business leaders. We believe, our nation can only benefit by making citizenship and full participation in American life a real and within-reach possibility for these remarkable young people, on a time frame that is not excessive or punitive. (The average DACA recipient has already lived in the U.S. for almost 20 years.)
Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration As leaders of educational institutions committed to educating anyone with the talent and drive to learn and to contribute to making the world a better place – whether a native born, immigrant or an international student, we urge you to:
• Provide a permanent solution for Dreamers that provides a pathway to citizenship including for the over one million individuals who are not DACA recipients, but who were or would have become DACA eligible, or who were also brought to the U.S. as children and have grown up and been educated as Americans in everything but status.
• Support relief to the over 300,000 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients who are now at risk of losing their work authorization and being forced to depart the United States, where many have been living, raising families, and working for decades. Many Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients are valued employees on college and university campuses across the country; they and their children are our students, neighbors, and active contributors in our communities.
• Reject proposals to reduce levels of legal immigration to this country including the diversity lottery. Researchers and economists have documented that such cuts would have devastating economic and community impacts, particularly as the U.S. native born population ages and our birth rates decline.
• Reject proposals that make U.S. higher education institutions less desirable destinations for international students. U.S. institutions’ ability to attract the most talented students and scholars in the world – students whose work helps sustain our academic pre-eminence and who often remain to continue their research or to found or help lead America’s most innovative companies – is not foreordained. It is a competitive advantage that benefits our nation today, but that can be lost to competitor countries and institutions that offer more favorable immigration policies and are eager to build their academic and research prowess and fuel their innovation economies.
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, but also its heritage as a nation of immigrants will be ever renewed. We have seen the transformative power of education meet the drive of immigrants determined to take advantage of the opportunities and freedom our country uniquely provides and to give back to their parents who sacrificed to come here and to their new country. We proudly attest to the important role first and second-generation immigrants and international students play in helping to build and sustain our campuses, to contribute to the vitality and economic prosperity of our communities, and to ensure that American higher education continues to excel nationally and internationally.
We urge you to begin this important work by passing as soon as possible a legislative solution for Dreamers.