NCAN Members Double Down in Fight for Dreamers

January 17, 2018

By Carrie Warick, Director of Policy and Advocacy

When the Trump Administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September, thereby giving Congress a six-month deadline to devise and enact a permanent solution for Dreamers, NCAN rallied our members to join the fight for these students. Today, College Forward, College Success Foundation (CSF) and the Florida College Access Network (FCAN) are among our members across the country advocating for policy solutions and reinforcing their support for Dreamers at this trying time. 

Access to higher education for undocumented students has been a priority for FCAN since well before President Obama created the DACA program in 2012. In fact, FCAN has long advocated for legislation that would allow undocumented graduates of Florida high schools to pay the in-state tuition rate at public colleges and universities, a successful effort that resulted in the passing of House Bill 851.

Upon the bill becoming law, FCAN doubled down by producing a policy brief that illustrated the number of students who used the waiver in its first year, identified the institutions at which these students were enrolled, and provided policy recommendations aimed at increasing the program’s efficiency.

The day Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced DACA’s rescission, College Forward spoke out immediately from the capital of Texas. On Sept. 5, CEO Austin Buchan wrote a letter to the College Forward community to announce that the organization “stands in solidarity” with DACA recipients, more than 124,000 of which reside in Texas..

“Dreamers are pursuing college degrees, contributing to the workforce, and bolstering their communities through service — embodying the quintessential American spirit in every imaginable way,” Buchan wrote. “In so many ways, Dreamers breathe life into the promise of the American Dream.”

In Washington state, College Success Foundation also expressed its support for the nearly 800,000 undocumented young people in the United States..

“CSF stands with and will play an active role with our partner colleges and universities, our local anchor corps, coalition partners, allies in the legislature and Congress supporting the Dream Act or similar legislation that will protect all aspiring students," Chief Advancement Officer Michael Cheever said.

CSF has also amplified the Dreamer voice by highlighting the story of DACA recipient Ray Corona, and is encouraging community members to contact their elected federal officials as well as congressional leadership.  

These organizations demonstrate the breadth and depth of advocacy that NCAN members can take to support their Dreamer students, from pushing for federal officials to provide a pathway to citizenship, to promoting state-level policies such as access to in-state tuition. Whether your organization can take on these larger issues or you'd like to act as an individual, NCAN encourages its members and partners to take action by contacting their elected officials and urging them to pass the Dream Act of 2017.

Advocacy Associate Jack Porter contributed the member interviews for this report.

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