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Higher education groups demand permanent DACA fix

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A number of higher education associations, institutional leaders and advocates are calling on Congress to pass legislation this year to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.

“The time has come to eliminate the fragility that permeates the lives of Dreamers and provide the stability that will lift our nation,” Broward College President Gregory Hale said during a media briefing Tuesday.

Members of Art President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration are flying to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with lawmakers and make their case. Dozens of associations of higher education sent a letter to congressional leadership urging them to pass the law. Alliance too sent a letter also about the problem.

Democrats they said Passing protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children is a priority during the last month of the session. However, Senate Democrats need at least 10 Republicans to support the bill, which seems unlikely at this point.

This week’s crackdown comes as divided government looms in Washington, as Republicans take control of the House in January and as the DACA program is under legal threat after a federal appeals court ruled the program illegal. Current DACA recipients have been able to renew their status, but the federal government has been unable to accept new applications for more than a year.

Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, said DACA has changed students and the college, but because of the uncertainty surrounding the program after the court ruling, many undocumented students who qualify for DACA are not protected.

“Because of the uncertainty, it’s hard for students and institutions to count on it,” he said.

Sorrell said passing legislation to make DACA permanent is common sense and “the right thing to do.”

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