Dear MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND PRESIDENT:
The Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio, Texas is one of the nation’s largest community college systems, with a total 2016 enrollment of over 77,300 students. Approximately 61 percent of the Alamo Colleges District’s total student enrollment, almost 47,000 students, is Hispanic. Each of the five colleges in the Alamo Colleges District is designated a Hispanic Serving Institution, and collectively the five colleges serve the largest number of Hispanic students in the nation among community colleges.
As such, we share a collective disappointment about the recent decision made by the Trump Administration to rescind the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. DACA positively impacts 800,000 DREAMers, young, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, including their families. Approximately 1,000 DREAMers are enrolled at the Alamo Colleges District. Our Alamo Colleges District DREAMers are dedicated and highly motivated students, as evidenced by their college retention rate of 89.2% and productive grade rate of 76.5%.
The termination of DACA jeopardizes DREAMers’ basic opportunity to work and study with the threat of deportation. All DACA recipients grew up in the United States, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying taxes. More than 97 percent are in school or the workforce.
DACA recognizes that children who arrived in the United States should not be punished for being here illegally. For many, the United States is the only home they have known. DACA allows these DREAMers to obtain an education, earn a living, support their families, pay taxes and work toward achieving their dreams like the rest of us.
Deportation of our DACA population would not only severely harm hundreds of thousands of young lives, but would also hinder our nation’s ability to create and grow jobs. The diversity of skills, ideas, and talents our immigrants bring enhances our nation’s global competitive advantage. The Center for American Progress estimates that ending DACA would mean a loss of $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions over the next decade.
We urge you to co-sponsor the Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615), a strong bi-partisan legislative solution that would allow young immigrants, brought to this country as children, to continue their quest for the American Dream by pursuing higher education, serving in the military, or being lawfully employed for 3 years and eventually earning a path to citizenship. Since our nation’s birth, we have welcomed immigrants and, in turn, have been strengthened and fueled by their energy, drive, and passion. As elected officials volunteering our time and energy to help prepare our nation’s future leaders, we encourage you to act to provide these students the long-term protections of citizenship, and the opportunity to fully contribute to America’s prosperity as students, workers, tax-payers and citizens.
As a community college system, we believe passionately in the pursuit of shared prosperity for all. The Alamo Colleges District is in Full Support of the Educational Success of Undocumented Student DREAMers. We ask Congress to pass legislation that protects DACA recipients to prevent 800,000 DREAMers from being deported.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES