Dear Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McConnell, House Democratic Leader Pelosi, and Senate Democratic Leader Schumer:
With the crush of legislation facing both houses of Congress as we end the year—and with the looming March 5 deadline to provide a permanent fix to protect the nearly 800,000 individuals impacted by the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—we write as the Officers of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), an organization serving the 50,000 men and women who volunteer on higher education’s governing boards, to urge your action on this important national policy priority.
Those individuals currently registered under DACA have passed rigorous tests and are already working and contributing to the states and communities in which they live. Those eligible for DACA do not present a threat to national security or public safety—they are hardworking and bright young people. In addition, thousands of these individuals are currently enrolled in colleges and universities across the country, enriching our campuses despite being ineligible for Pell Grants and federal student loans.
College and university board members are ultimately responsible for the success of the students who are enrolled in the institutions they serve. As board members, we recognize the positive impact of DACA on our institutions and in the broader communities in which these young people live and work and the harm that will befall individuals, communities, and institutions of higher learning in our country unless a permanent legislative solution is found.
As Officers of AGB—serving the governing board members of America's public and independent colleges and universities—we urge you to use the coming weeks to find a permanent, bipartisan legislative solution to protect those currently enrolled productively in DACA. We stand ready to work beside you in achieving this important goal.