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Monday, November 21, 2016
Universities Issue Joint Statement in Support of DACA
Back in late December of 2010, The Dream Act, which stands for “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors” was defeated in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 55-41. This legislative bill was designed to help people who had been brought into the U.S. illegally when they were 15 years old or younger. The Act would have helped those children to obtain U.S. citizenship, providing that they attended two years of college or served two years in the U.S. military. The law required qualifying candidates to have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and graduated from high school.

In 2012, the Obama Administration issued an executive order creating the program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This act was a diluted version of the Dream Act, offering deferment from deportation to undocumented immigrants who had entered the U.S. prior to their 16th birthdays. So long as program applicants had graduated high school or been honorably discharged from the military, they would receive temporary work permits. Unlike the Dream Act, DACA did not offer these young people an alternative path to citizenship.

DACA is now one of many policies created under the Obama Administration that President-Elect Trump is promising to dismantle. Estimates place at around 750,000 the number of people who are currently participants in DACA; over half of those students are from California and Texas. Surprisingly, a movement to defer deportment of those people has received bipartisan support in Congress, although it remains to be seen whether legislation preserving portions of DACA would pass in the Senate.

For their part, a group of 472 university and college presidents across the country have expressed written and vocal support for the safeguarding of DACA and its students. The number of signatures is growing daily. The joint statement calls it a "moral imperative" and "national necessity" to protect the rights conferred on these DACA students, many of whom may eventually face deportment under the current administration.

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