University Presidents Call for Stand-Alone Passage of Dream Act

A small group of university presidents today called for immediate passage of legislation that would provide an easier path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have spent two years in college or in the military. The Development, Relief, and Education Act for Alien Minors, known as the Dream Act, could improve immigrants’ access to higher education and would open up federal loan opportunities to them. The presidents — representing Eastern Washington University, Northern Virginia Community College, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Houston-Downtown — spoke as part of numerous rallies and lobbying efforts this week in Washington by the United We Dream Coalition. Some immigrant-rights advocates have worried that passage of the Dream Act as a separate bill could harm the effort for broader immigration reform, but students and higher-education leaders asked for support as soon as possible. The presidents also said the Dream Act could reduce dropout rates and help strengthen the work force.

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