By Janine Davidson, Ph.D.
As the president of a large public university with close to 400 undocumented students, and many more Dreamers who have graduated and entered the workforce, it is my job to support these hard-working members of our community as they pursue the exceedingly more elusive American Dream.
These students strive to graduate in the midst of uncertainty that the rest of us don’t have to worry about. It is time Congress passed real legislation to ensure these young adults can continue to contribute and thrive in the country they call home.
While most Americans are hunkered down at home, trying to imagine a post-pandemic return to normal, the Supreme Court is weighing whether over 800,000 DACA recipients, many of whom have lived in the United States almost their entire lives, will ever see normal again.
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There are approximately 15,000 DACA recipients in my home state of Colorado. Their economic and civic contributions increase significantly with the completion of a higher education degree. Their loss of DACA status would translate to a loss for our state’s economy and society. Within the context of the COVID-19 national pandemic, these challenges only multiply.
The Center for American Progress estimated that removing all undocumented immigrants from the U.S. would reduce the country’s gross domestic product by $434 billion per year. But this is about more than their contributions to our economy.
DACA students at Metropolitan State University of Denver are working to become nurses, social workers, engineers and public servants. Even one of our trustees, a first-generation college graduate who became a teacher, is a DACA recipient.
This op-ed was first published in The Hill, a Washington, D.C.-based political newspaper. Read it in full at TheHill.com
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