Letter from the American Council on Education and college presidents to congressional leaders:
To: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
As students return to campus for a new academic year, our institutions are keenly aware of the two-year anniversary of the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. We believe it is long overdue for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation, in both the House and Senate, to provide permanent protection for Dreamers—young, undocumented, high-achieving individuals brought to our country as children.
We understand the Supreme Court will soon be considering DACA. But regardless of the Court’s decision, legislative action will remain necessary. The issue should be solved on a permanent basis by Congress. We respectfully urge you to come together on a bipartisan basis to address this challenge by doing the right thing for these outstanding young people and for our country.
It is not just our students who support protections and certainty for Dreamers. Across the country, your constituents support acting to protect these individuals. Poll after poll confirm Americans overwhelmingly support legislation that would provide relief to Dreamers with a path forward in the only country they have ever really known. A February 2018 CNN poll found that over 80 percent of Americans, across all partisan affiliations, overwhelmingly support Congress protecting Dreamers. This was reinforced by a national Pew Research Center survey last summer that found that nearly three-quarters of Americans favor granting permanent legal status for Dreamers.
We have seen these remarkable people up close on our campuses as our students, colleagues and friends. They are educated and grew up with American values and traditions, making them American in every way except in immigration status. They work and pay taxes. They serve in the military and teach in our schools. And tens of thousands of Dreamers have earned or are striving to earn a college degree in institutions across the country. They consider the United States to be their only home. Despite the challenges they face, they have made incredible contributions to our country and its economy and security. If we are unable to provide opportunities for these individuals to fully contribute to our nation, we will be shutting the door to an entire generation of individuals who seek to contribute their best to America.
We are eager to work with Congress in a bipartisan manner to address this issue as soon as possible.