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Joint Statement of IBHE, ICCB, ISAC and FIICU on Rescission of DACA

In response to the announcement by the Trump administration to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and begin a six-month wind down, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois Student Assistance Commission, and the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities issued the following statement:

 

As organizations that work directly with students and colleges throughout Illinois, it is our shared mission to provide access to postsecondary education that not only provides a happier and more promising future for individuals and families in this state, but also drives the economic engine of Illinois.

 

Without Congressional action, the decision to end DACA means that Illinois students who are among the 800,000 DACA participants in the U.S. could not only lose access to education, but their lives could be upended, families could be devastated, and the state may lose some of its best, brightest and most dedicated residents.

 

Over 42,000 individuals have been accepted to participate in the DACA program in Illinois, including many who are currently students or have already graduated. Together we share friendships, neighborhoods, classrooms, and workplaces, including assignments with the military, proudly serving our country.

 

Many of the DACA-registered students—“DREAMers”—have overcome tough odds and persisted at school with grit and commitment. Many have helped support family members and worked multiple jobs to pay for college, without access to federal and state financial aid, and built a life in America.  We want for them what we want for all Illinoisans—to stay in the state and prosper.

 

DACA students and graduates have helped and continue to help Illinois meet its 60 by 2025 goal: 60% of all adults in Illinois with a degree or high quality postsecondary certificate by 2025. Illinois currently stands at just over 50%, and with 70% of all jobs expected to require postsecondary education and training beyond high school by 2020, Illinois cannot afford to fall behind.

 

Moreover, with the third largest number of approved DACA applications in any state, studies show that the Illinois economy would lose approximately $2.3 billion with the elimination of DACA, including nearly $55 million in local and state tax revenue.

 

We will continue to do our part to support our Illinois DREAMers and undocumented students. But if we are to avert a true humanitarian crisis and remain competitive in a global economy, Congress must act. For these individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children, this is the only country they know and love. They voluntarily stepped up and provided their information to the federal government, and now through no fault of their own, face mass deportation.  They have shown their commitment to, worked for, and contributed to the American Dream.

 

We stand with Illinois universities and colleges and business leaders, along with those all across the country, and with our Illinois elected officials in urging Congress to pass legislation that will address immigration reform and allow these DREAMers a path to citizenship.

 

A list of helpful links to FAQs, information related to postsecondary education and financial aid, legal and other support services for undocumented students, is available on the ISAC website at https://www.isac.org/resources-for-non-us-citizens/index.html.