On DACA Anniversary, Presidents’ Alliance Urges Legislative Solution and Highlights Ways Administration, States, and Higher Ed Can Support Dreamers

On DACA Anniversary, Presidents’ Alliance Urges Legislative Solution and Highlights Ways Administration, States, and Higher Ed Can Support Dreamers

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2023
Contact: Michael Earls at 202-494-8555

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the eleventh anniversary of the announcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on June 15, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration today reiterated its call for lawmakers to build on the program’s successes to provide a permanent way for Dreamers with and without DACA to fully participate in the country they call home. 

This call to action is especially acute in light of ongoing legal challenges that threaten the future of DACA and have restricted new entrants into the program. In fact, while there are more than 400,000 undocumented students currently enrolled in higher education, fewer than half are DACA-eligible. The Presidents’ Alliance is committed to achieving a legislative solution for our Dreamers, who are integral members of our campuses and communities. 

Felecia Russell, Director of the Higher Ed Immigration Portal at the Presidents’ Alliance and a DACA recipient, said: 

11 years ago, I remember sitting at home with tears falling from my eyes because I knew DACA meant I could legally work in the country that I consider my home. With DACA, many doors opened for me; I went on to earn my master’s and my doctorate, a privilege I know not all undocumented people have. Through higher education, I have created a wonderful life for myself and my family. However, I live my life in two year increments because DACA is a band-aid and not a permanent fix. While DACA has created so many opportunities, we need to build on its successes to pass legislation to provide a permanent path for Dreamers to fully participate and thrive in America.”

Diego Sánchez, Director of Policy and Strategy at the Presidents’ Alliance, said

“As a former DACA recipient, I know firsthand how the program has expanded opportunities, transformed lives, and strengthened campuses, workplaces, and the nation over its 11 years. It’s essential that we finally pass bipartisan legislation to provide overdue permanent protections for Dreamers and offer certainty for the families, businesses, and campuses that rely on them. It’s time for policymakers to catch up with the strong majority of the American people and to strengthen the futures of both Dreamers and the nation.

While we implore lawmakers to deliver a permanent legislative fix that only Congress can enact, we also call on the Biden administration to continue to fortify DACA and expand opportunities for Dreamers; states to pursue policies such as in-state tuition and financial aid equity for undocumented students; and campuses and higher ed leaders to explore the many ways that they can support the needs of their undocumented students.” 

Among the bipartisan bills that would provide a path to permanent legal status for Dreamers with and without DACA include the American Dream and Promise Act, set for reintroduction, and the recently introduced Dignity Act from Representatives María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla) and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas). 



The nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to advance just immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus level that are consistent with our heritage as a nation of immigrants and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.