Center joins advocacy organizations in support of Dream Act of 2017

This week, the Center for Rural Affairs joins more than 320 child and youth advocacy organizations in a letter to Congress expressing our support for the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017.

The bill would provide lawful status and a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth and young adults who came to the United States as children, including recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The letter urges Congress to take immediate action to pass a clean Dream Act following President Trump’s decision to terminate DACA. As a result, more than 800,000 Dreamers who have been able to access work authorization and protection from deportation are once again facing an uncertain future.

As an organization committed to equity and inclusion for all, we recognize that rescinding DACA will have immediate, severe consequences for recipients and their families. Recipients will lose their work authorization and once again be at risk for deportation, threatening their safety, economic security, and mental health — as well as that of their families. An estimated 25 percent of DACA recipients are parents to U.S. citizen children. The decision also means that more than 200,000 Dreamers under age 15 who were waiting to age into DACA no longer have the opportunity to apply.

These DACA recipients are our students, neighbors, coworkers, and community members. The bipartisan Dream Act is common-sense legislation that will provide a permanent solution for these and many more young Dreamers, ensuring their wellbeing and future success.

We join advocates from around the country to urge Congress to immediately pass the Dream Act.

For the number of DACA recipients as of June 30, 2017, by state, click here.

Letter to Congress

Dear Member of Congress,

The undersigned organizations are writing to express our strong support for the immediate passage of the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 (S.1615/H.R. 3440), which would provide lawful status and a clear path to citizenship to certain immigrant youth and young adults who came to the United States as children, including recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As organizations concerned with the emotional, psychological, physical, educational, and economic wellbeing of children and youth, we are united in our commitment to ensuring that all children in the United States have opportunities for educational and economic success.

Swift Congressional action on the Dream Act is imperative following President Trump’s decision to terminate DACA, an action that will uproot the lives of more than 800,000 Dreamers who have been able to access work authorization and protection from deportation through the program. DACA has proven to be smart policy—not only for DACA recipients but also for their families and communities. A large survey of DACA recipients found that 45 percent of DACA youth are enrolled in school and more than 90 percent are employed.

The decision to end DACA will have negative consequences for children and youth across the United States. It immediately caused upheaval for almost a million young immigrants, who are once again worried about their safety and security in the only country they call home. Dreamers report that receiving DACA gave them hope for the future, instilled a greater sense of belonging and value, and reduced their fear of authorities. Being forced back into the shadows will significantly undermine their mental health and wellbeing. Furthermore, Dreamers are forced to worry about how they will continue to support their families and fund their education without the ability to work.

Ending the program also undercuts the wellbeing of families who depend on DACA recipients, including U.S. citizen children. Roughly a quarter of DACA recipients are parents to U.S. citizen children. Decades of developmental research tells us that children markedly benefit when their parents are mentally and physically healthy and have access to higher education and quality jobs. Moreover, an emerging body of research exposes the developmental harm that children experience when parents lack status. In addition to the negative effects of financial hardship during childhood, children experience tremendous fear and stress at the prospect of being separated from their parents.

Finally, the termination of DACA dashes the hopes of approximately 200,000 little Dreamers who have been waiting to turn 15 to meet the program’s age requirements. Like citizen children, they have and will continue to spend the majority of their young lives learning and growing in our schools and communities. Without Congressional action, their dreams of becoming our nation’s future lawyers, doctors, teachers, soldiers, scientists, and policymakers will be cut short.

As organizations dedicated to the health and wellbeing of children, we submit that the bipartisan Dream Act is common-sense legislation to provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients as well as other eligible immigrant youth. The bill reflects the diverse talents and passions of the Dreamer population, including those who are parents. Advancing educational and employment opportunities for millions of children and youth supports their wellbeing and future success as well as that of our country. We urge members of Congress to act quickly and pass a clean Dream Act.

Signatories

National Organizations

Advocates for Youth
Alliance for Early Success
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Dance Therapy Association
American Federation of Teachers
American Psychological Association
BUILD Initiative
Building Movement Project
Campaign for Youth Justice
Center for American Progress
Center for Immigration and Child Welfare
Center for Law and Social Policy
Center for Public Interest Law
Center for Rural Affairs
Child Care Aware of America
Child Labor Coalition
Child Welfare League of America
Children's Advocacy Institute
Children’s Defense Fund
Children’s Defense Fund Southern Regional Office
Children's Leadership Council
Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Coalition on Human Needs
College Success Foundation
Community Catalyst
Council of Administrators of Special Education
Courage Campaign
Democrats for Education Reform
Educare Learning Network
Family Focused Treatment Association
First Focus Campaign for Children
Forum for Youth Investment
Gateway to College National Network
Generations United
Girls Inc.
Heartland Alliance
HighScope Educational Research Foundation
iMentor
Immigration Partnership and Coalition Fund
Jobs for the Future
Justice in Motion
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Learning Disabilities Association of America
LIFT
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Make it Work
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
MomsRising
National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds
National Association for College Admission Counseling
National Association for Family Child Care
National Association for the Education of Young Children
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Center for Youth Law
National College Access Network
National Consumers League
National Council of Young Leaders
National Crittenton Foundation
National Education Association
National Health Law Program
National Human Services Assembly
National Immigration Law Center
National Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Association
National Network for Youth
National Women's Law Center
National Youth Employment Coalition
New Horizon Academy
New Leaders
Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
Opportunity Nation
Opportunity Youth United
Ounce of Prevention Fund
Pacific Northwest Association for College Admission Counseling (PNACAC)
Partnership for America's Children
PCACAC Government Relations Committee
People's Action
Pre-Health Dreamers
ProInspire
Public Advocacy for Kids
Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
School Social Work Association of America
SchoolHouse Connection
SCORE
Southern Association for College Admission Counseling
Southern Center for Human Rights
SparkAction
Stand for Children
StandUp For Kids
The Advocates for Human Rights
The Children's Partnership
Think of Us
True Colors Fund
UNICEF USA
UnidosUS
United We Dream
We Belong Together
Women’s Refugee Commission
Year Up
Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
Young Invincibles
YouthBuild USA, Inc.
YWCA USA
ZERO TO THREE

State and Local Organizations

Alabama
Alabama Possible
Alabama Family Child Care Association
Girls Inc. of Central Alabama
Madison County Home Child Care Association
Voices for Alabama’s Children

Alaska
Alaska Children’s Trust

Arizona
Arizona Council of Human Service Providers
Children’s Action Alliance
Phoenix Youth & Family Services, Inc.

Arkansas
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

California
Advokids
American Sports Institute
Association for California School Administrators
California Alternative Payment Program Association
California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAAEYC)
Child Care Law Center
Children’s Defense Fund—California
Children's Law Center of California
Children Now
Clinica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero
Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers
Community Clinic Consortium of Contra Costa and Solano
Community Health Councils
Community Health Partnership
Educare California at Silicon Valley
Equality California
Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles
Girls Inc. of San Diego County
Law Foundation of Silicon Valley
Northern California Association of Counsel for Children
Parent Voices CA
PDAP of Ventura County, Inc.
Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network
Southern CA Association for the Education of Young Children

Colorado
Clayton Early Learning
Colorado Children's Campaign
Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition
Denver Scholarship Foundation
Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network

Connecticut
All Our Kin
Center for Children's Advocacy, Inc.
Connecticut Association for Human Services
Connecticut Voices for Children
Our Piece of the Pie, Inc.
SEIU Connecticut State Council

Delaware
Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children

District of Columbia
District of Columbia Association of Secondary School Principals (DCASSP)
Girls Inc. DC
La Clinica del Pueblo

Florida
Catalyst Miami
Children’s Forum
Girls Inc. of Bay County
Girls Inc. of Jacksonville
Girls Inc. of Winter Haven

Georgia
Columbia Presbyterian Church
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
Interactive College of Technology
Los Vecinos de Buford Highway

Hawaii
Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children
Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators

Idaho
Idaho AEYC
Idaho Association of School Administrators

Illinois
Casa Central
Catholic Charities Diocese of Joliet
Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University Chicago
Erikson Institute
Illinois Action for Children
Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling
Illinois Collaboration on Youth
Illinois Principals Association
Voices for Illinois Children

Indiana
Girls Inc. of Monroe County
Indiana Association of School Principals
Indiana Institute for Working Families

Iowa
Girls Inc. of Sioux City

Kansas
Kansas Action for Children

Kentucky
Family & Children's Place
Girls Inc. Owensboro

Louisiana
Louisiana Policy Institute for Children

Maine
Bonny Eagle High School
Maine Association for the Education of Young Children
Maine Children's Alliance
Maine Principals’ Association

Maryland
Advocates for Children and Youth
Asylee Women Enterprise
Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals
Prince George's County Family Child Care Association
Professional Child Care Provider Network of Prince George's Co. Inc.
Ready At Five

Massachusetts
Girls Inc. of the Berkshires
Girls Inc. of Holyoke
Girls Inc. of the Seacoast Area
MAFAC
Massachusetts School Administrators Association
MIRA Coalition
Northeast Justice Center
Strategies for Children

Michigan
Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling
Michigan’s Children
Mothering Justice
Priority Children

Minnesota
Children’s Defense Fund—Minnesota
Minnesota Association for College Admission Counseling (MACAC)
MN Association for the Education of Young Children (MNAEYC) & MN School-Age Care
YWCA Minneapolis

Mississippi
Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative

Missouri
Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals
SLATE Missouri Job Center

Montana
Montana Association of County School Superintendents
Montana Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals
Montana Association of School Superintendents
Montana Association of Secondary School Principals
Montana Council of Administrators of Special Education
Montana Educational Technologists Association
School Administrators of Montana

Nebraska
ACLU of Nebraska
Black Men United
Compassion in Action, Inc.
Early Childhood Services
First Five Nebraska
Food Bank of Lincoln
Heartland Workers Center
Holland Children’s Movement
Latino Center of the Midlands
Nebraska Appleseed
League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha
League of Women Voters of Lincoln and Lancaster County Nebraska
League of Women Voters of Nebraska
Nebraska Youth Advocates
OneWorld Community Health Centers
Unity in Action
Voices for Children in Nebraska

Nevada
Children’s Advocacy Alliance

New Hampshire
Mont Vernon Village School
Woodman Park School

New Jersey
Advocates for Children of New Jersey
New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association

New Mexico
New Mexico Voices for Children
OLÉ

New York
Advocates for Children of New York
Atlas: DIY
Brothers At Bard
Center for Children's Initiative
Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.
Child Care Resource Network
Children’s Defense Fund—New York
Citizens' Committee for Children of New York
Early Care & Learning Council
Girls Inc. of Long Island
Lawyers For Children, Inc.
NYS Association for College Admissions Counseling (NYSACAC)
NYS Association for the Education of Young Children
Prevent Child Abuse New York
School Administrators Association of New York State
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation

North Carolina
NC Child
North Carolina Justice Center

Ohio
Action for Children
Children’s Defense Fund—Ohio
HAPPY Homes Ohio Association
Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling
Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children
Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators
Southwest Ohio AEYC
YWCA of Hamilton

Oklahoma
Oklahoma Association of Secondary Principals
Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association
Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Oregon
Children's Institute
Confederation of Oregon School Administrators
Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Principals Association
Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling
Public Citizens for Children and Youth

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Association for the Education of Young Children

Rhode Island
Rhode Island Association of School Principals
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT

South Carolina
PASOs

Tennessee
Black Children's Institute of Tennessee
Community Legal Center
Tennessee Association of Secondary School Principals
Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth

Texas
Center for Public Policy Priorities
CHILDREN AT RISK
Children’s Defense Fund—Texas
Children's Rights Clinic
CollegeCommunityCareer
Hispanic Faculty Staff Association of the University of Texas at Austin
Texas Association for College Admissions Counseling
Texans Care for Children
Voices for Children of San Antonio

Utah
Professional Family Child Care Association of Utah
Utah Association of Secondary School Principals

Vermont
Vermont Principals' Association

Virginia
Child Care Connections of Richmond
Virginia Alliance of Family Child Care Associations

Washington
Association of Washington School Principals
Northwest Health Advocates
Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP

West Virginia
West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy

Wisconsin
Association of WI School Administrators
CAP Services, Inc.
Center for Resilient Cities
East Madison Community Center
Girls Inc. of Greater Madison
Kids Forward
Wisconsin Association of College Admissions Counselors

Wyoming
Wyoming Association of Secondary School Principals