Harvard joined hundreds of other universities in signing a letter last Thursday urging Congressional leaders to support “Dreamers,” or undocumented immigrants who had been granted the right to work and study in the United States by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
President Trump ended the Obama-era program in early September but gave Congress six months to preserve the protections DACA recipients had previously enjoyed. The letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and Chuck Schumer claimed that universities were “ready to work with Congress in a bipartisan manner” to protect undocumented students.
“[W]e urge you to take the action that President Trump requested when he rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, and pass a long-term legislative fix as soon as possible to protect Dreamers,” the letter said.
The American Council on Education, an organization that represents nearly 1,800 colleges, universities, and other groups that promote higher education coordinated efforts to compile the letter on behalf of the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition. The Coalition is a larger group encompassing the ACE and other higher education associations.
In asking Congress to devise a legislative solution to the end of DACA, the letter referenced “widespread support” for DACA recipients. According to the letter, polls conducted by various news organizations had found that over 60 percent of Americans believe Congress needs to protect DACA recipients. Hundreds of business leaders have also voiced their support for DACA recipients.
The letter emphasized that many of the schools that had signed the letter had seen “these remarkable people up close.” Dozens of DACA beneficiaries currently attend Harvard.
“[Dreamers] have made incredible contributions to our country and its economy and security. They should continue to be able to do so,” the letter said. “If we are unable to protect these Dreamers, we will be shutting the door to an entire generation of individuals who seek to contribute their best to America.”
Thursday’s letter was not the first time Harvard has spoken out on the issue. University President Drew G. Faust sent two letters to Trump in support of DACA after his election. Shortly after he announced the end of the program, Faust denounced his decision as “cruel.” Recently, she joined other prominent figures including business leaders and politicians to found the Dream Coalition, which pushes for legislation that supports undocumented students.—Staff writer Angela N. Fu can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @angelanfu.