The following is an excerpt from this week’s Framework Leadership Podcast.
With the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program set to expire as early as next week, more than 800,000 DREAMers are running out of time. Here are some statistics you should know:
- According to the Center for American Progress, 95% of current DACA recipients are either working full-time or in school.
- Research from the Cato Institute, a public policy research organization, indicated that the aggregate economic costs if DACA is repealed would be over $200 billion and the cost to the government would be $60 billion.
- The Center for American Progress estimated that the loss of DACA workers would reduce the U.S. gross domestic product by $433 billion over the next ten years.
As a university president, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know several of these DREAMers personally. I've heard stories from students like Sayra Lozano, whose parents immigrated here when she was five years old to give her the best opportunities possible. As a DACA recipient, Sayra has completed her undergraduate degree in organizational leadership. She has been a congressional intern in D.C., completed her master's in business administration and is now a part of Southeastern's faculty as an adjunct professor. For us to take away everything she's accomplished and send her to a country that has never been her home just because Congress wants to keep playing politics is not only wrong, but it's unAmerican.
I agree that it's imperative that we protect our nation and secure our borders through strong immigration reform. However, the issue of the DACA students goes to the core of who we are as a nation. Congress has the opportunity to demonstrate the values and principles of compassion, dignity, respect, diversity, community, and reconciliation that make this nation great. These young people were brought to the U.S. as children and have come forward in good faith to do everything asked of them. They deserve the opportunity to pursue an education to contribute fully to our society.
Over 80% of Americans agree that DACA students should be given a path to citizenship, especially if they're going to college or serving in the military. As a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, my colleagues and I have watched these DREAMers in our classrooms. They are our as neighbors and friends and have made incredible contributions to our country. It is simply not an option to throw out an entire generation of leaders who will only give their best to build the future of our nation. We do ourselves a disservice to shut them out.
On this week's episode of the Framework Leadership podcast, I had the opportunity to speak about this issue with Pastor Samuel Rodriguez. Pastor Rodriguez is the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and has consulted with several U.S. Presidents as well as Congress members on both sides of the aisle. He has insightful views on DACA and I encourage you to listen to our conversation.
TO LISTEN TO KENT'S FULL INTERVIEW WITH PASTOR RODRIGUEZ, LISTEN BELOW OR GO TO APPLE PODCASTS.