NYU Among 800 Colleges to Urge Congressional Protection of Dreamers

On Oct. 19, 800 colleges and universities around the U.S., including NYU, signed a letter to the House of Representatives urging them to protect immigrants while DACA is in the process of a repeal.

On Oct. 19, NYU President Andrew Hamilton, along with the presidents and chancellors of nearly 800 colleges and universities across the country, signed a letter directed at leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, urging them to take legislative action to protect immigrants after President Donald Trump announced a repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Sept. 5.

The letter, addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was coordinated by the American Council on Education on behalf of the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition.

“On behalf of the undersigned colleges and universities, we urge you to take the action that President Trump requested when he rescinded the DACA policy, and pass a long-term legislative fix as soon as possible to protect Dreamers, outstanding young people brought to our country as children,” the letter read.

The ACE letter was designed to echo a similar plea made by nearly 800 U.S. business and industry leaders on Sept. 20.


“Colleges and universities have seen these remarkable people up close, in our classrooms and as our colleagues and friends,” the letter said.

“Despite the challenges they face, they have made incredible contributions to our country and its economy and security. They should continue to be able to do so. If we are unable to protect these Dreamers, we will be shutting the door to an entire generation of individuals who seek to contribute their best to America.”

Along with NYU, the letter was signed by all the Ivy League universities (with the exception of Dartmouth College), including President Trump’s alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.

“Andy Hamilton believes that the undocumented individuals at NYU are valued members of our community who should be able to pursue their studies and their research and their work without fear of being deported from the only home they have ever known,” NYU Spokesperson John Beckman said in an email. “As the letter says, we hope that Congress will act swiftly and decisively to safeguard the Dreamers.”

Update: Oct. 23, 2017

Darmouth College signed the letter on Oct. 23.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 23 print edition. Email Sakshi Venkatraman at [email protected]



  1. Some history:

    The Initial DREAM Act S.1291 (2001)
    The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S.1291) legislation was introduced in 2001 as a bipartisan bill in the Senate. The legislative goal was to provide a means for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to gain a pathway to permanent legal status; provided those individuals achieved certain milestones, including:

    Attending or graduating from an institution of higher learning;
    Be of a certain age to apply;
    Be physically present in the U.S. for a certain number of years;
    Have good moral character; and,
    Not have violated other immigration laws

    Individuals who would have qualified under the DREAM Act are often referred to as “DREAMers.” The term has been used to define individuals in the U.S. who were brought to the country at an early age without documentation but have assimilated to U.S. culture and have been educated by U.S. school systems.

    The Senate bill 1291 failed to pass the Senate during the 107th Congress. However, in subsequent years, legislators have introduced numerous “DREAM Act” bills. There have been at least 21 subsequent bills attempting to pass a form of relief for DREAMers since its initial introduction in 2001:

    The DACA Program mirrors many of the requirements first proposed by Senators in the DREAM Act of 2001.

    So technically these children who entered the US illegally along with their parents are not really “Dreamers” since that Act never passed. But then calling them DACAers would not be as sexy and generate the same kind of emotional support, even from President Trump, would it?


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