ALAMOSA — The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program could potentially end this March, leaving thousands of students and workers subject to deportation. The leaders of Adams State University, which have signed three different letters in support of DACA, don’t want that to happen.
Recently ASU President Beverlee McClure signed a letter with six other Colorado colleges and universities that states, “an average of 1,400 Dreamers will be forced from their jobs every business day for the next two years,” and “ending the program would cost Colorado more than $856.9 million in annual GDP losses.”
“For us it was important for our mission as the oldest Hispanic Serving Institution in the state,” said McClure about the letter on Friday.
“Our campuses not only thrive—but rely—on the incredible, diverse communities built by our students and staff, those born both here and elsewhere,” the letter also states.
Though the spirit of the message is similar, the target is different than the letter McClure signed in conjunction with Pomona College and 600 other college and university presidents last year. That piece of correspondence was addressed towards President Trump when he announced that his administration would stop the program.
“To rescind DACA now would be cruel and unfair to these students who have spent most of their lives in this country,” McClure said in the September statement. “Our nation would also suffer negative economic impacts and lose the talent and potential these Dreamers bring to our communities.”
In October the ASU Board of Trustees also sent a letter to congressional leaders and the Colorado delegation.
“The requirements for DACA mean that recipients are more likely to be productive citizens,” the letter reads. “They have every incentive to work hard, succeed in school and engage in positive civil behaviors in their path to becoming US citizens.”
ASU’s undergraduate student body is approximately 35 percent Hispanic and the university has two Dreamers as students that receive no state or federal financial aid. According to the October letter one studied to be a teacher to “serve our isolated, economically disadvantaged community, where it is difficult to recruit teachers.”
“We didn’t write on that letter or sign on to that letter because we have a huge number,” said McClure, “but because we believe they should have the opportunity.”
While the letter McClure signed wants Congress to pass a Dream Act, she said none of the letters are tied to specific legislation language. This means that while ASU supports DACA, it doesn’t necessarily support Congress’s discussed compromise to protect DACA if resources for the border wall between the United States and Mexico are provided in exchange.
“We didn’t want to be tied to negotiations or compromises that might not fall philosophically and politically in line with the trustees. That’s why their letter was separate,” McClure said Friday. “Sometimes you have to stand up for principals and policy versus just politics.”