NASFAA signed on to a letter sent by the American Council on Education urging congressional leaders to pass legislation to protect Dreamers after recent court decisions declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal.
The letter, addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majoriy Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), urges the lawmakers to pass legislation to provide permanent protection for Dreamers, and says they are “young, undocumented, highachieving individuals” brought into the U.S. as children.
The higher education organizations say because of recent court rulings against the DACA program, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are left in limbo. While some Dreamers are not DACA-eligible, the current program has provided over 611,000 individuals protection from deportation and a U.S. work permit.
The Biden administration in September unveiled final regulations that would codify DACA through the regulatory process. This is the first time DACA has gone through the formal rulemaking process, and the final rules largely mirror the current structure of the DACA program that was established in 2012.
However, in October the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a federal district judge in Texas to take another look at the Biden administration’s final rule on DACA. The court ruling leaves the future of the DACA up in the air — current recipients are able to renew their status, but first-time applicants are barred from being accepted into the program.
“Recent decisions by a Texas federal district court and by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring the DACA program illegal have left some Dreamers in a devastating legal limbo,” the letter states. “While these recent court decisions allow current DACA recipients to renew their status for now, Congress must pass legislation to protect them and the many other Dreamers who are not DACA-eligible.”
The organizations argue that Dreamers contribute substantially to the U.S. economy. The letter cites data from the Cato Institute, which found deporting individuals with DACA protection would cost over $92.9 billion in lost tax revenue and would cost the U.S. economy over $351 billion over the next decade.
“Colleges and universities have seen these remarkable people up close, in our classrooms and as our colleagues and friend,” the letter states. “Despite the challenges they face, Dreamers have made incredible contributions to our country and its economy and security. If we are unable to protect them, we will be shutting the door to an entire generation of individuals who wish to be part of our American story.”
Publication Date: 11/21/2022