Access to higher education for all

I recently joined university presidents and chancellors across the United States by adding my name and the support of Pace University to a letter (https://www.pomona.edu/support-daca) that urges President-elect Trump to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – the DACA program.

The DACA program allows undocumented students who entered the US illegally as infants or children to continue their education at universities in the US without fear of deportation. President Obama created the program by executive action in 2012. President-elect Trump has said he would end the program.

As leaders and educators it is critical that all of us support the ideal that everyone should have access to higher education and the chance to expand their minds and opportunities. Higher education opens students’ eyes to new worlds; it provides avenues to work hard and achieve meaningful goals, and to pursue careers that enhance their lives and advance society.

Under DACA, more than 700,000 young people who were brought to the US illegally as children have registered with the federal government in exchange for temporary relief from the possibility of deportation and a two-year renewable work permit. These young men and women have taken advantage of a program offered by the United States government. The letter I signed said DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded. This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity. America needs talent – and many of these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, represent what is best about America.

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