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News and Policy

AGB Alert: Trustees Asked to Contact Senators and Encourage Legislative Solution for DACA

Sep 26, 2017

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) is urging college and university trustees to contact their members of Congress in Washington—particularly their senators—and encourage them to work with other policymakers and President Trump to develop a permanent, legislative solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arriavls (DACA) program.

Background

On September 5, the Trump administration announced that it was ending DACA. Created by an Obama administration executive order in 2012, the program allows undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children by their parents to work and study legally in the United States (sometimes known as Dreamers). 

To qualify for DACA, applicants pass rigorous tests.  They must have arrived in the country before the age of 16, resided here continuously since 2012, and be enrolled in or completed high school. They cannot be deemed a threat to national security or public safety, and cannot have been convicted of a crime. There are roughly 800,000 individuals registered under DACA, and many of them are enrolled in our nation’s colleges and universities. 

The Trump administration’s decision, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, initiates a wind-down of the program, giving Congress a six-month window to approve a permanent legislative solution codifying DACA into law or regulation. If Congress is unable to approve such legislation, the nearly 800,000 individuals living, working, and studying in the United States under this program will not be able to renew their permits and could face deportation. 

While congressional leaders have begun working together and coordinating with the Trump administration on a permanent legislative solution, there is mounting fear about what might happen if policymakers do not resolve this issue.

AGB Supports DACA

AGB remains steadfast in its belief that these bright and hardworking young people not only contribute to the fabric of our colleges and universities, they enhance and enrich our communities. Rescinding this policy harms our institutions and our nation's future, not simply the young people registered under this policy. 

AGB issued a statement on September 5 in response to the president’s decision to rescind DACA. On September 14, AGB President Rick Legon joined AGB board officers in signing letters sent to both President Trump and congressional leaders, urging that a permanent solution be found.

Opportunity for Advocacy

In coordination with institution presidents, board chairs, and government-relations liaisons, AGB encourages board members to engage with their members of Congress, especially members of the Senate, to encourage swift, bipartisan action approving legislation that will protect the affected students and ensure the ongoing viability of this important program. 

As business leaders, professionals, community leaders, alumni, and parents, board members often have the advantage of a special relationship with policy leaders. Trustees are, therefore, in a unique position to engage with members of Congress and influence their decision on this issue. We hope you and your fellow board members will consider your advocacy role in encouraging a permanent legislative solution on DACA. Your voice, individually and collectively, can have a powerful impact. 

Below are several talking points to assist you in conversations with policymakers about DACA:

  • As soon as possible, we hope you can work with your congressional colleagues and the president to pass legislation permanently protecting the bright, hard-working young people impacted by the elimination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
    • Dreamers make important contributions to our colleges and universities. As students, they enrich our diverse campus communities and contribute to the research and service missions of our institutions, despite being ineligible for Pell Grants and federal student loans.
    • Dreamers make important contributions to our communities. They pay taxes and contribute economically to our communities as employees and consumers, yet they themselves are not eligible to receive federal welfare benefits or health-care subsidies. According to a study by the Cato Institute, rescinding DACA will reduce the nation’s economic growth by $280 billion dollars in the next decade.
    • Dreamers make important contributions to our nation. They protect us by serving in our nation’s military, and are an important pipeline into our nation’s workforce, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • Because the social, civic, and economic contributions of DACA recipients are significant, our nation cannot afford to lose their knowledge, skills, and involvement. Therefore, it is extremely important that Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution to protect our nation’s Dreamers.

Additional Resources

We welcome questions, comments, and examples of impact from our members. For additional information, please contact Tim McDonough, AGB vice president for government and public affairs, at 202.296.8400 or messages@agb.org.  

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