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Preserving Opportunity for All

College Forward CEO Austin Buchan shares his thoughts on recent changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

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College Forward | 09.05.17

Preserving Opportunity for All

Dear CoFo Community,

At 11:00 a.m. EST Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the rescission of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era initiative that allows undocumented individuals brought to the United States as children to remain in the country without fear of deportation.

Since 2012 DACA has helped over 800,000 young people — “Dreamers” — climb the ladder of educational and economic opportunity that serves as the hallmark of any healthy democracy. Dreamers are pursuing college degrees, contributing to the workforce, and bolstering their communities through service — embodying the quintessential American spirit in every imaginable way.  We know firsthand that many of our nation’s DACA students have no memory of life outside the U.S., with thousands of young men and women crossing our borders as toddlers. These children have since grown up to become the first in their families to graduate from college, enter into a middle-class life, and start families of their own. In so many ways, Dreamers breathe life into the promise of the American Dream.

Now, without a clear road to meaningful employment, students affected by this rescission confront uncertain futures as they navigate pathways to and through college. These futures should not be held hostage against arbitrary Congressional deadlines and political footballing. Hard-working students and families are trapped in the middle and will now return to the nebulous realities of pre-DACA programming.

But now is not the time to give up. Dreamers have “beaten the odds” their entire lives, and will continue to do so in spite of today’s news. Through it all, College Forward will continue to do what we have always done: put our students first. Our priority remains to work hand-in-hand with students and families to uncover a pathway to success — one that ends with a college diploma. The pathway to postsecondary success is riddled with complications and unexpected roadblocks. It is the job of nonprofit organizations, K-12 and college leaders, and policymakers to eliminate barriers to student success, not compound them.

College Forward was founded with the unwavering belief that all students, regardless of income or background, deserve a quality education and career success. For this reason, we stand in solidarity with the 800,000 individuals — more than 124,000 in Texas alone — currently enrolled in DACA, and remain committed to working toward our ideal of democratizing opportunity for all.

We remain committed to elevating the voices of the young people affected by today’s decision, and urge Congress to take swift action to preserve opportunity for all.

Onward,
Austin Buchan
CEO, College Forward