Though the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is questionable, University President Michael Drake’s support of the program and its recipients has never been in doubt.
Drake, along with more than 250 university leaders across the country, signed a letter Monday addressed to congressional leaders urging them to pass permanent legislation to protect DACA recipients. He released the letter Thursday on Twitter.
The letter was specifically addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top two Republicans in Congress, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Democrats.
It said Congress should focus on passing DACA legislation to protect its recipients — those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, often referred to as “Dreamers” — now that a federal budget has been approved.
“… we urge you to come together and complete another piece of urgent, unfinished business: to pass bipartisan legislation that permanently protects Dreamers from deportation and provides them with the ability to continue to work, study and serve in the military,” the letter read, “so that they may fulfill their human potential and contribute to our campuses, communities and country.”
A delay in addressing DACA would have a high human cost, the letter said.
“But the ultimate cost, should Congress fail to act, will not just be borne by Dreamers and their families, but by the students who lose a teacher, the patients who lose a doctor, the lab that loses a researcher, the military unit that loses a trained and ready leader, the church that loses a volunteer. Our country and our economy will be poorer for it,” it read.
Along with Drake, Rutgers University’s chancellor, Utah State University’s president and Georgetown University’s president were among signees, to name a few.
Drake has continuously voiced his support of DACA recipients since President Donald Trump’s administration announced in September that it would rescind the legislation, setting a deadline of March 5 to mark the program’s end.
Drake released a statement in support of DACA recipients the day the announcement was made, and has signed several letters since.
In an interview with The Lantern Tuesday, Drake said the university plans to continue its support of DACA students, regardless of the program’s future.
“DACA students are a part of our population, and it means a lot to us that they’re treated fairly and appropriately,” he said.
Last week, Drake met with Republican Rep. Steve Stivers, who represents Ohio’s 15th congressional district, and has met with Ohio Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown to voice the university’s support of DACA. He said he plans to continue lobbying in support of the program until the March deadline.