URGENT: Member Advocacy Needed for Dreamers

January 4, 2018

By Carrie Warick, Director of Policy and Advocacy 

President Trump delivered “a terrible blow” to many of our students in September: He ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, effective March 5, 2018, suggesting that Congress should spend the six months in between designing a legislative solution. While lawmakers have engaged in much discussion and introduced several bills – some bipartisan, some not – Congress has yet to take action. 

Today NCAN is asking our members to increase their advocacy and demand congressional action to support our Dreamer students. To learn more, join our webinar on Jan 8. NCAN recommends that Congress pass the Dream Act of 2017, the most comprehensive and generous proposal for our students. (UPDATE: View webinar recording here.)

Friday marks four months since Trump’s announcement and two months until the deadline. Yesterday, three former secretaries of homeland security – who served under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama – wrote to Republicans and Democrats in Congress urging an immediate resolution to Dreamers’ turmoil. They emphasize that one reason to act now is the time it will take to implement a newly designed program. Another, also stressed by several Dreamer advocacy groups, is that legislation to fund the government must move through Congress with bipartisan support by Jan. 19, giving lawmakers a potential pathway to include the Dream Act in the funding bill. And finally, according to United We Dream, 122 DACA recipients are already losing their status daily – a number that will skyrocket to 1,200 after March 5, according to the aforementioned secretaries.

For Dreamers, the most beneficial solution to DACA’s end would be passage of the Dream Act – either as a standalone bill or part of a larger bill like the funding measure. This bipartisan version of the Dream Act would provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship for anyone who was eligible for DACA, as well as additional Dreamers who did not meet the DACA criteria. Most important to NCAN members, it would allow Dreamers who qualified for this pathway to more affordably attend college via access to federal financial aid. The National Immigration Law Center has a complete summary of the bill.

Since Trump’s election, NCAN members have expressed concern among their students from immigrant communities, and several have since begun advocacy efforts. The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis asked community members to contact Congress, noting that some local Dreamers travelled to Washington, D.C. for meetings and rallies supporting the Dream Act. KIPP hosted an event in the nation’s capital with program alumni and visits to congressional members by the KIPP Foundation board. Individual staff members have also taken action, such as David Blancas of One Goal, who wrote in The Hechinger Report about how both he and his students benefit from DACA. And TheDream.us, the largest college access program and scholarship provider for Dreamers, issued a call to action and will present on NCAN’s Jan. 8 webinar

We encourage NCAN members, their students, boards, and donors to ask Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017 now – don’t wait.

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