UNI signs DREAMer legislation support letter

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor | [email protected]

Last Thursday, Oct. 19, UNI was one of approximately 800 colleges and universities that signed a letter issued by the American Council on Education (ACE) in support of legislative action to permanently protect Dreamers.

Dreamers is the collective term used to refer to the individuals who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that the Trump administration rescinded in September.

The DACA policy, which was established in 2012 by the Obama administration, allowed individuals who had entered the United States as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation.

According to the ACE website, roughly 350,000 of the 800,000 individuals with DACA status — or Dreamers — are currently enrolled in school or college.

The ACE letter issued last week was formally addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

The letter called for a “permanent legislative solution” and stated that the ACE is ready to “work with Congress in a bipartisan manner” to address the issue.

In addition, the letter stated that there is “widespread support” to protect individuals enrolled in the DACA program, especially among educational institutions across the country.

“Colleges and universities have seen these remarkable people up close, in our classrooms and as our colleagues and friends,” the ACE letter states. “Despite the challenges they face, they have made incredible contributions to our country and its economy and security.”

UNI’s formal support of legislative solutions to protect Dreamers last week was preceded by an official statement issued by UNI President Mark Nook in early September, shortly after the Trump Administration announced their intentions to rescind DACA.

“Individuals who are registered in the DACA program have had a positive impact on our country and on the universities they attend,” Nook said in his statement in September. “We will work with our congressional delegation to help them understand the importance of this issue to students, the community and the state.”

Although the Trump Administration announced their plans to rescind DACA on Sept. 5, 2017, the ending of the policy has been delayed until March 5, 2018 in order to allow Congress enough time to pass legislation to provide a permanent solution for individuals enrolled in the DACA program.