SAN ANTONIO, TX – HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores has issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement about the DACA program:
"The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) denounces President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) Program. The decision to play political football with the lives of 800,000 current DACA holders is a heartless one, directly contrary to the President’s February comment that he would treat DREAMers 'with heart.' Unwilling to make the announcement personally, the President assigned the task to Attorney General Sessions today. The fate of DACA and the DREAMers now lies squarely in the hands of Congress.
DACA recipients were brought to the U.S. as children, attended U.S. high schools, and have no criminal record. Their DACA deferral from deportation has allowed them to attend college and legally hold a job in the U.S. As has been repeatedly noted, DACA holders were not responsible for their presence in the country; they lack access to a reasonable path to citizenship; nevertheless they have shown themselves to be positive contributors to the U.S. economy and the American way of life. They have trusted the DACA process and followed the rules. Now the rules they have been following are being changed.
HACU has been a longstanding champion for the passage of the DREAM Act and a fair and just comprehensive immigration reform. The DREAM Act, first introduced in 2001, would regularize the situation of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and would offer a path to eventual citizenship. To date, Congress has been unable to pass a version of the act through both houses in the same session. Polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans sympathize with the plight of the DREAMers and support legislation that would allow them to remain legally in the U.S.
While President Trump’s campaign rhetoric had painted immigrants as responsible for the economic difficulties of the American heartland, in fact immigrants are key contributors to the economy. DREAMers especially have shown great promise of being important to America’s economic future. Since taking office, Trump has spoken more positively about DREAMers and suggested he would act 'with heart' to resolve their situation. The current rescission of DACA program seems designed to relieve the President of responsibility and put the burden on Congress to pass already pending legislation. But this game of political football has immediate and devastating impact on 800,000 people now facing the threat of deportation in spite of their best efforts to comply with all that has been asked of them.
HACU urges Congress to act swiftly and restore Americans' faith in the fairness and wisdom of its institutions.
HACU calls upon our more than 470 affiliated higher education institutions to let Congress know that the time for action is now."
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) represents more than 470 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain. HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Information is available at www.hacu.net.