400+ CEOs, University Presidents and Civic Leaders Urge Leaders Schumer and McConnell To Pass Bipartisan DREAM Act Following Texas Court Ruling to End DACA
Letter urges action on DREAM Act through bipartisan action or budget reconciliation if necessary
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Citing an uncertain future for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, their employers, families, and communities after a Texas federal judge declared DACA unlawful and closed the DACA program to future applicants, more than 400 CEOs, University Presidents, and civic leaders sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to pass the bipartisan Durbin-Graham DREAM Act of 2021.
“We urge the Senate to come together and immediately provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals through the passage of the bipartisan DREAM Act, and if necessary, through budget reconciliation. We understand that no bill is perfect, but we believe this existing bipartisan bill is the best framework to protect Dreamers rather than starting over with new legislation,” stated the letter. Read the letter here. See the full list of signatories here.
The letter was convened by the American Business Immigration Coalition, a bipartisan coalition of more than 1200+ business leaders across the country from Texas to Idaho, Arizona to Florida, and the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, which brings together over 500 college and university presidents and chancellors on immigration issues that impact higher education.
Signatories include Noelle Cockett, President, Utah State University; Hugh McColl, Former Chairman and CEO, Bank of America; Joseph I. Castro, Chancellor, California State University; Carole Segal, Co-Founder, Crate and Barrel; Lawrence Bacow, President, Harvard University; Mike Fernandez, Chairman and CEO, MBF Healthcare Partners; John Rowe, Chairman Emeritus, Exelon Corporation; Michael Drake, President, University of California System; Craig Duchossois, Chairman, the Duchossois Group; Christopher Eisgruber, President, Princeton University; Chris Wallace, President & CEO of the North Texas Commission; David Leebron, President, Rice University; Robert J. Jones, Chancellor, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. For a complete list of signatories, click here.
Business leaders, including several signatories of the letter, will be on Capitol Hill this week to make the case in person for immediate action on providing relief to Dreamers, farm workers and TPS holders, delivering a clear message that inaction is not acceptable in 2021.
About 93 percent of Dreamers are employed and pay close to $10 billion in taxes, while generating nearly $20 billion in spending power. They are students, teachers, employees, entrepreneurs and 200,000 essential workers, including first responders, restaurant and grocery store workers, childcare providers and almost 30,000 healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses. There are 181k DACA-eligible students enrolled in higher education institutions. Nearly 40,000 Dreamers started businesses and created jobs for American workers. Support for legalizing Dreamers has grown since its introduction 20 years ago — 79% of all voters and 69% of Trump voters support legalizing Dreamers.
The following are highlighted comments from coalition leaders:
Noelle Cockett, President, Utah State University, stated: “At its core, public higher education is about opportunity: the opportunity to better yourself, your family, and your community; to grow your mind; and to navigate and discover the world. As Utah’s land grant university, USU is at the forefront of providing access and opportunity for all of Utah’s students, no matter their background or circumstance. The bipartisan Senate Dream Act of 2021 is critical in ensuring Dreamers have the certainty they need to pursue education and bring critical skills to the workforce.”
Bob Worsley, Co-Chair of the American Business Immigration Coalition and former Arizona Republican State Senator: “Now is the time for Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn to step up and lead on the Graham/Durbin Dream Act and bipartisan solutions or get out of the way and let the Democrats do legalization through reconciliation.”
Juan Carlos Cerda, DACA recipient and Director, Texas Business Immigration Coalition: “The support of hundreds of CEOs and university presidents for a Dream Act underscores how important Dreamers have been to our communities and economy. Congress can no longer ignore the urgency of a Dream Act and should act now to secure Dreamers’ talents and skills for our nation’s future.”
Joseph I. Castro, California State University Chancellor, stated: “Let us not forget the genesis of the term ‘Dreamers’: It aptly describes people who are simultaneously part of a collective American dream and individuals who are trying to live their personal American dream. The California State University has long advocated–and will continue to advocate–for a sustainable legislative solution that provides permanent protection for Dreamers: young people, full of promise, who were brought to the U.S. as children through no choice of their own.”
Woody L. Hunt, Hunt Companies Inc. Board of Directors Senior Chairman and Co-Chair of the American Business Immigration Coalition: “There is now an even greater sense of urgency for our Senators to pass a federal Dream Act, and put our state’s economy ahead of politics. The business community must stand by Texas Dreamers and get a Dream Act passed immediately.”
Cezanne Hayden-Dyer, Student Strategy Table member of The Presidents’ Alliance: “Because the 5th Circuit court ruled against DACA, it will cast thousands of DACA recipients into a wave of uncertainty. For me, it means that I won’t be able to pay for school and complete my bachelor’s degree. I won’t be able to work and help provide for my family including my 10-year-old son. There would be so many opportunities that would be taken away from me. I’ve been in the U.S. for over 25 years, this is my home, and without DACA my future here is bleak.”
Chris Wallace, President & CEO of the North Texas Commission: “Dreamers are American in all but paper, and also essential to our economy. Judge Hanen’s decision is a clear message that the Senate must act swiftly not only to protect Dreamers from deportation but also provide them a path to permanence so that they can continue to be productive members of society and our workforce.”
The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.
Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
The non-partisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to advance just, forward-looking immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus level that are consistent with our heritage as a nation of immigrants and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.