Washington, DC, Oct. 8, 2019 – Uzair, Erik, and “Isabel,” three TheDream.US Scholars, shared their stories of growing up in America and the power of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in an amicus brief filed this week and coordinated by The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration on behalf of 165 public and private universities and colleges from 32 states and the District of Columbia, including many of TheDream.US’ Partner Colleges.
According to Gaby Pacheco, Director of Advocacy, Development, and Communications, “As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments, we stand proudly alongside our nearly 5,000 Scholars and the over 700,000 DREAMers, who have benefited immensely from the DACA program. Just like ‘Isabel,” Erik, and Uzair, America’s DREAMers are our nurses, our teachers, our colleagues, and our friends. When given the tools, like DACA, to succeed, they thrive. However, the current legal limbo and uncertainty is affecting DREAMers’ lives, health, and futures and threatens to keep them from fulfilling their incredible potential.
“This disruption also has ripple effects across our communities, as DACA-recipients are integral parts of our community and our workforce. DACA-recipients and their households pay $5.7 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state taxes, annually. 1.5 million people live with a DACA recipient and over 255,000 U.S. citizens are the child of a DACA-recipient. To rip DREAMers from their families and our communities is cruel and counterproductive. DACA is a proven successful, sensible program. We hope that the Justices will allow DACA to continue to strengthen our country, and we urge Congress to pass a permanent solution for DREAMers.”
The brief also references TheDream.US’s “In Their Own Words” report summarizing the responses and implications from a national survey of 1,400 TheDream.US Scholars. Available in full online here.
Excerpts from the amicus are included below:
Isabel (alias) was able to return to school as an adult and finish her Business Management degree at National Louis University upon receiving DACA. She graduated college with a 4.0 GPA and is currently working as a technical support specialist for a top financial tech company. Isabel hopes to one day become a successful entrepreneur and to own her own restaurant group. DACA changed her life, allowing her to obtain a state ID, apply for better jobs, and help her family. But, most importantly, it made her feel like a human.
Erik graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University – Newark with a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management. He was a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honors Society for public administration, and also interned for a member of Congress, a local Assemblyman, and a non-profit. After obtaining his degree, he continued his Rutgers education with a Master’s in Public Administration, concentrating in Public and Nonprofit Performance Management. Erik dreams of going to law school and then working for the government, and possibly even running for office one day. None of which would be possible without DACA.
Uzair was brought to the United States from Pakistan at just five months old. He received DACA five years ago and is now a student at the University of Houston as well as an aspiring nurse. Uzair wants to become a nurse, because he has witnessed firsthand his parents’ struggle to pay astronomical medical bills, resulting from a lack of health benefits due to his and his parents’ undocumented status. Likewise, throughout high school he volunteered with the Red Cross and developed a passion for caring for others and the community. Uzair will be the first in his family to graduate from college, and he is grateful that his status will allow him the opportunity to provide for his parents and give back to his community.
Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here
In Spring 2019, TheDream.US celebrated the graduation of more than 300 Scholars from partner colleges across the country. Watch a video featuring TheDream.US spring 2019 college graduates: here