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Hundreds of colleges write to Congress calling for DACA protections

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Hundreds of college and university leaders have signed a letter urging Congress to take action to protect young immigrants in the U.S. illegally as the Trump administration moves to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The letter, sent Thursday to House and Senate leadership, calls on Congress to “pass a long-term legislative fix as soon as possible to protect Dreamers.”

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

The letter is attached to a 17-page list of hundreds of colleges and university signatures. DACA is estimated to protect 800,000 people, many of whom are enrolled in public and private universities and colleges nationwide.

President Trump rescinded the landmark Obama-era program in early September, giving Congress a six-month deadline to come up with a permanent legislative fix.

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Congressional action has stalled amid debate over whether a DACA fix will have to include other immigration regulations continues.

Trump had insisted on including funding for a border wall, but Democrats have made it clear that they won’t support such funding. Trump met with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last month, reportedly agreeing to a deal that did not include funding for the wall.

The effort to produce the letter and gather signatories was coordinated by the American Council on Education, on behalf of the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition.

Business leaders have also condemned Trump’s actions, with more than 800 signing a similar letter late last month.

“Children brought to the United States at a young age did not have a choice in the matter and are today Americans in every way but immigration status,” the letter from higher education leaders reads. “It remains in America’s best interest to enable them to use their knowledge, skills and energy to continue to make the strongest possible contribution to our country.”

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