Earlier this month, the Trump Administration announced plans to terminate DACA, an Obama program that gave 800,000 young undocumented immigrants permits to stay in the US legally.
UNC President Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of Education to George W. Bush, has come out in support of DACA recipients.
“I joined with a bipartisan group of former secretaries of education to urge congress to act quickly. I do think there is uncertainty here with the six-month clock ticking,” said Spellings.
The letter states that contributions from DACA recipients has already made the country stronger by, “sharpening their minds in school, accelerating innovation by developing new technologies, teaching the next generation of leaders in our public schools, treating patients in our hospitals, and contributing to rescue efforts in Houston.”
Spellings says that UNC does not keep track of the students who will be affected by the end of the program, but that there are about 27,000 young people K through 12 in North Carolina that are affected by DACA in some way.
“We are gathering information from the campuses about implications to individual students and their cases. So that they can have a clear path forward,” said Spellings.
Terminating DACA without a legislative solution, the letter says, will “trigger a chaotic reversal of the gains achieved by Dreamers over the last five years, and “undermine faith in our country’s immigration system,” along with “creating a gaping hole in our economy and disrupting communities.”
The letter ends by calling on Congress to “put politics aside and do what’s right,” and pass the DREAM Act, which would create a path for DACA recipients to earn legal status and eventually citizenship.
Other former secretaries to sign were President Obama’s education secretaries, Arne Duncan and John King, Rod Paige, who served under President George W. Bush, and Richard Riley, who served under President Clinton.
Click here to read the full letter.