Higher Education and Immigration Voices Call on Congress to Deliver Bipartisan Solution for DREAMers

A Joint Statement from TheDream.US and the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration

Washington, DC – The following is a joint statement from TheDream.US and The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration on the need for Congress to pass legislation addressing DREAMers’ unresolved crisis.

TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided more than 4,000 scholarships to students with DACA and TPS at more than 75 partner colleges in 15 states and Washington, DC. The organization believes that all young people, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential, gain an education, and fully participate in the country that they call home.

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 420 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, serving over four million students in 41 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

“It’s been 18 years since the bipartisan duo of Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Dick Durbin came together to try and solve the problems facing DREAMers. Starting in 2012, after the DACA program was enacted, we saw how providing status for DREAMers made a powerful difference in these young people’s lives and benefited communities, campuses, and workplaces across America.

Since President Trump announced the end of the DACA last September, elected officials have been tasked with delivering a legislative solution that addresses DREAMers’ unresolved crisis. The deeply uncertain futures of current DACA recipients and the inability of many younger DREAMers to join the DACA program creates unrelenting anxiety in DREAMers’ lives and on campuses, while threatening to restrict our country’s future economic competitiveness.

On college campuses across America, DREAMers provide thousands of examples why passing legislation resolving the crisis facing DACA recipients and TPS holders will be good for America. Scholars have a demonstrated record of succeeding in the classroom and contributing to their campus community and well beyond. We all benefit from DREAMers studying on our campuses, thriving in our workplaces, and contributing to our communities. There are more than one hundred thousand DACA recipients across America who are enrolled in a higher education program, as well as hundreds of thousands of other DREAMers who are either enrolled in or pursuing higher education, or who have graduated and are looking to contribute to the only country they call home.

With many Members of Congress set to leave office in a matter of weeks, there’s still time for them to do the right thing and pass legislation that would replace DREAMers’ current uncertainty with permanent legal status. We also believe that this needed resolution for DREAMers’ uncertain futures should not require a trade-off that inflicts harm on immigrant families.

We understand the skepticism and dismay about this Congress finally delivering in the lame duck session what it has been unable to do since last September. But the failures until now do not change the overwhelming need for a responsible solution and resolution for DREAMers.”

The recent report from TheDream.US, In Their Own Words, summarized the responses and implications from a national survey of 1,400 TheDream.US Scholars and underscored the importance of a legislative solution. The survey results underscore how important educational gains are to these Scholars and other Dreamers’ aspirations and futures, in communities across the country, while painting a compelling portrait of the uncertainty and anxiety that these students face in a difficult immigration climate, particularly with the forthcoming end of DACA and TPS.

As one Scholar survey respondent said, upon reflecting about the loss of DACA status: “I’ve been in the [United States] for so long that I think my life may fall apart. I don’t have a home to go back to, both parents are deceased. My mental health is falling apart. Everything is just sad.” And as another survey respondent succinctly stated, “I don’t feel safe like I did when DACA was stable.”

Kim Cook, executive director of the National College Access Network (NCAN), said “Many of NCAN’s 400-plus member organizations in 49 states have supported DACA students and other DREAMers to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. These students display incredible tenacity in the face of many challenges. They deserve a solution that allows them to continue their education and contribute fully to their communities.”

Read a copy of TheDream.US report In Their Own Words available in full online here.

Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here.

Read the Presidents’ Alliance calls to Congress urging bipartisan action to protect DACA, other Dreamers, and TPS recipients here.

Read the National College Access Network’s call for a legislative solution for DREAMers here.