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US: “remember dreamers’ rights in immigration”

The Presidents’ Alliance for Higher Education has issued a “broad” appeal concerning the legal rights of Dreamers and DACA recipients in a new letter.

The letter highlights Dreamers’ contributions to socio-economic progress as "multilingual" and globalised individuals. Photo: Pexels

The issue has been left out of the conversation and is currently “off the table”

The letter, written by its steering committee on behalf of the Alliance’s 550+ college and university presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges, asks lawmakers to consider undocumented immigrants be included in any bipartisan compromise on immigration.

“As the number of migrants coming to the US has risen to record levels, public support for immigration has gone down,” said Diego Sánchez, director of policy and strategy for the Presidents’ Alliance, speaking with The PIE News.

“I think Republicans have been very successful in heading administration on this issue – whereas it has divided Democrats.”

Sánchez reasoned that the continued absence of any permanent protection for both Dreamers, both those who are and aren’t DACA recipients, has prompted the group to send a letter to the top brass of the US government.

The letter highlights Dreamers’ contributions to socio-economic progress as “multilingual” and globalised individuals, and emphasises the fact Dreamers are “pursuing and graduating from undergraduate and graduate education in STEM, healthcare, and teaching, fields that face severe labor shortages”.

“In 2020, Dreamers were part of the conversation… Even a year ago, dreamers were part of this conversation – and record numbers of folks coming into the US for all sorts of reasons has really completely changed the narrative,” said Sánchez.

He mentioned that a couple of months ago, negotiation for military aid in Ukraine and Israel was being discussed, in return for concessions on the US border.

As such, the Alliance believes that uncertainties regarding the future of thousands of Dreamers both with and without DACA will be dispelled once they have been granted a more permanent route to residency.

Current compromises are in flux as one bill was blocked by the Senate, with another $95bn package passed but then not brought to the House by Speaker Mike Johnson, due to it not being tough enough on border security.

This would cast even more uncertainty for Dreamers, advocates say. A centrist group from the House are also looking to introduce a similar bill.

Sánchez also noted that the letter, which unlike some previous campaigns held by the Presidents’ Alliance, is much more broad and asks lawmakers to consider one thing.

“We’re not saying how to do it; we’re just saying remember the dreamers. It’s unfortunate that we had to get to this point to remind not only Republicans, to remind Democrats as well, that [they’re] giving away too much in exchange.”

“Migrants coming to the US has risen to record levels… public support for immigration has gone down”

The issue has been left out of the conversation and is currently “off the table”, as stated by Republican senator Thom Tillis, who was part of past immigration reform attempts and had worked closely with the Presidents’ Alliance in the past.

Senate Democrat Dick Durbin’s pleas to include Dreamers were rejected by Republicans when talks for the bill began, and several Republican lawmakers have claimed that Congress is unlikely to look into the issue anytime soon.

“Even in lawmakers’ minds, they’re saying DACA recipients still have their work permit; the Supreme Court has not ruled on this yet, [so it’s fine]. We’re setting the stage and preparing ourselves to get there,” Sánchez added.

“We may not get to the Supreme Court soon. It could be the end of this year, just like it could be next year – so we may be just having to wait until then for lawmakers to say, okay, we have to act now.”

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