January 17, 2018

President Jane K. Fernandes Joins Fellow U.S. College and University Leaders to Urge Congress to #ProtectDreamers

Washington, January 17, 2018 – Jane K. Fernandes, the President of Guilford College, joined members of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration in Washington, D.C., today to call on Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution to protect young immigrants known as Dreamers. The event took place at the U.S Capitol Visitor Center and included leadership from colleges and universities across the country, as well as Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.).

Today’s call to action is a response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last fall. The program provides protection from deportation and work authorization to individuals who came to the United States as young children and allows them to attain higher education, serve in the military, and contribute even more fully to their communities.

Jane has written extensively on her support for DACA, including the importance of the Alliance and of protecting recipients. The Presidents’ Alliance was formed by college and university presidents and chancellors in response to the urgent need to increase public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact students, campuses and communities. The first priority for the Alliance is to advocate for a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers. Last week, the organization urged congressional leadership to pass legislation immediately in support of Dreamers.

Undocumented students from several of the institutions also shared their stories and what DACA means to them. Hector Rivera Suarez ’18 recently had the opportunity to deliver a speech on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, urging Congress to take action. He also spoke with members of Congress and their staff.  Hector joins Jane today in Washington to continue his work advocating for the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients.

Jane has been one of Hector’s most consistent supporters, saying in a recent blog post “Hector was so impressive as he spoke with powerful eloquence. I was moved to tears by his words…. I am so grateful that Hector made the trip to Washington to tell his story on behalf of all DACA individuals. I admire Hector for his courage and commitment to our city, state, and nation — the only home he has ever had.” Hector’s story has been recently covered by The New York Times, the Raleigh News and Observer, the Greensboro News and Record and WFMY News 2.

The Presidents’ Alliance to date includes 234 American college and university presidents and chancellors from across the country. The organization supports immigration policies that create a welcoming environment for immigrant, undocumented and international students so that the nation’s higher-education institutions can continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world, compete globally for talent, spur innovation and growth, and reflect our history and strength in diversity as a nation of immigrants.