California Community Colleges Board calls on Congress to preserve DACA

FILE PHOTO: College of the Canyons students hold signs supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as they listen to speakers at a rally for the policy in th Honor Grove on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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The California Community Colleges Board of Governors unanimously adopted a resolution Monday that voiced its support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and called on Congress to preserve the federal program.

Citing studies showing that deporting DACA recipients would cost the federal government $60 billion, the Board of Governors resolution stated its “steadfast” support for all DACA recipients and undocumented students in the California Community College System.

“The California Community Colleges Board of Governors is unwavering in its support and promotion of programs, initiatives and policies designed to instill values associated with community and inclusion,” the resolution read.

The resolution comes a few weeks after a Sept. 5 announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Trump Administration would rescind the federal program established by the Obama Administration in 2012.

DACA protects “Dreamers,” or those brought to the United States as children, from deportation while they attend school or obtained employment with a valid, two-year work permit.

As the state with the most Dreamers—with more than 200,000 individuals protected by DACA—California education leaders have voiced their disappointment with the administration’s decision during the past two weeks.

Shortly after the decision, College of the Canyons (COC) Chancellor Dianne Van Hook shared her dissatisfaction with the decision in an email to students and staff.

“I am deeply saddened by this news, and can only begin to imagine the fear and anxiety that our DACA students at College of the Canyons are experiencing as they wonder what comes next for themselves and their families,” Van Hook said.

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) also expressed its support for undocumented members of its community.

“We stand against any actions that infringe on undocumented communities right to live and create without fear of deportation,” CalArts said in a statement.  “Diversity is the cornerstone of the arts and undocumented communities sustain and vivify our campus, our home in greater Los Angeles and our country.”

The resolution from the California Community Colleges Board of Governors follows nine months of reassurances and measures by the system that it would protect DACA students at its 114 colleges, including COC.

In previous months, the system reaffirmed its commitment to its students, called on President-elect Trump to preserve DACA and joined with other institutes of higher education to defend the rights of all students.

“We all benefit from this program, which enables hardworking members of society to contribute to their communities, serve in our armed forces and make better lives for themselves and their families at our colleges,” said Board of Governors President Cecilia V. Estolano in a statement.  “Congress must step up sooner, rather than later, and do the right thing.”

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