Letter: Vermont colleges stand united in defense of Dreamers

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Editor of the Reformer:

As Congress considers what action to take regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the 17 college and university presidents of the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges add their voice in support of the DACA program.

As presidents of Vermont institutions of higher learning, we share deep concern over the current administration's decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the way it is being implemented. The decision to rescind the access to education, permission to work, and exemption from deportation for almost 800,000 undocumented students and adults who were brought to this country as infants or children threatens to disrupt the lives of students in our state and across the country who, through no fault of their own, have known no other home than the United States.

DACA students make important contributions to American society. And they have contributed constructively and actively to our institutions' intellectual communities. Despite the six-month delay, the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people and their families will be thrown into turmoil midway through the academic year. We support swift action by Congress to bring forward legislation to establish DACA permanently in law. We further support Congress in their work to be forward-looking, finding a way to make the DREAM act and the BRIDGE act a legal reality, allowing young people the opportunities to develop and use their gifts to build an even better America. We applaud any progress that is being made to continue this program.

We also support Vermont in joining 14 other states in a lawsuit challenging the plan to terminate the DACA program on the basis that it will cause harm to hundreds of thousands of their residents, injure colleges and universities, damage companies and state economies, and disrupt the states' statutory and regulatory interests.

We are proud to be members of a state that has long embraced and protected its immigrants. Our institutions all seek to enroll the best and most promising individuals regardless of their circumstances, and we have benefitted from the presence and contributions of DACA students. Vermont is a state that is proud of its independent spirit, strong sense of community, and sense of justice. We stand united with DACA students.

T. Gregory Dewey, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; Mariko Silver, Bennington College; Don Laackman, Champlain College; Lawrence Jensen, College of Saint Joseph; Robert Kenny, Goddard College; Peter Eden, Landmark College; Kevin Quigley, Marlboro College; Laurie Patton, Middlebury College; Milan Milasinovic, New England Culinary Institute; Richard Schneider, Norwich University; John Neuhauser, Saint Michael's College; Sophia Howlett, SIT; David Evans, Southern Vermont College; Matthew Derr, Sterling College; Roger H. Sublett, Union Institute and University; Thomas McHenry, Vermont Law School; Thomas Greene, Vermont College of Fine Arts.



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