Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) joined Dr. James McShay from the University of Maryland, Dr. Matt A. Bareto from UCLA, and Monica Sibri, founder of CUNY DREAMers, for a press call highlighting the critical role Dreamers play in higher education. Speakers called for quick passage of the bipartisan Dream Act to allow these talented young people the opportunity to continue their studies and contribute to the only country they call home.
“President Trump fails to recognize that DACA recipients are real people succeeding in our universities, who generally have known no other country but the United States of America. DACA has opened up the doors of higher education and made a positive difference in their lives and in our communities,” said Senator Cardin. “There is no fairness or compassion in threatening the safety and security of honest young people who are working hard to give themselves and their family a better life. Dreamers do not deserve to live in uncertainty, to have the only life they’ve known torn from them. There is bipartisan support in Congress to preserve the DACA program and we must do so swiftly.”
“DREAMers were raised pledging allegiance to the American flag and live as our neighbors – this nation is the only home they know,” said Senator Van Hollen. “They attend college and are integral members of universities and colleges in Maryland and across the country – and they go on to serve in our military, open businesses, and contribute to our society and our economy. We can’t let President Trump dismiss their many contributions, send them back to countries that they don’t know, and tear families apart. It’s time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act and ensure these young people can continue pursuing their futures without fear.”
Monica Sibri, Dreamer and founder of CUNY Dreamers said, “I am one of the 2,000 undocumented students that have successfully graduated from college out of the 30,000 enrolled in higher education programs. We remain the shadows, where the financial barriers and the fear of deportation threaten our ability to finish a degree. The story is the same for the nearly 800,000 young people who have benefited from the DACA program and have their lives in limbo. We are survivors of an immigration system that denies our existence. We urge Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act and allow us to continue furthering our education and contributing to our communities throughout the country.”
“Our colleges and universities have a commitment to educate and train the next generation of leaders in our communities. Regardless of immigration status, race, religion or anything else our commitment is to our students. Dreamers are standouts on our campuses, in their work ethic and dedication, and we need to encourage them not push them away. “Having 50 different and conflicting state policies on access to college does not work. Congress must pass a federal solution, and that is the DREAM Act, and they need to pass it right now,” said Matt Barreto, Professor of Political Science and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA.
“It’s an imperative for our campus to pass federal Dream Act legislation. Choosing not to do this is antithetical to the core values of our country, University of Maryland and higher education writ large. It places our Undocumented students in jeopardy, causes turmoil in their lives and drastically curtails their ability to reach their full potential as members of U.S. society,” said James McShay, Director of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy at the University of Maryland.