DREAMers Are Our Students And We Must Protect Them

These individuals are American in every way.

It is difficult to fathom where our country would be today without the significant contributions of immigrants. Doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and scientists are just a few of the many professions that immigrants, and the children of immigrants, have pursued at our universities. As a result, so many of them have accomplished great things and changed our country for the better. 

Our immigrant past has helped shape America’s future, and DREAMers are unequivocally part of that future. These individuals are American in every way— albeit on paper. 

Miami Dade College is home to hundreds of DREAMers, young men and women who go to college for the same reasons as every other student—to pursue an education, follow their passion, contribute to our nation and chase their own unique version of the American Dream. I have spent a lot of time with DREAMers, listening to their stories and understanding their struggle. I know firsthand that they wish to live and learn in the only country many of them have ever called home.

Congress must act now and pass legislation that ensures a permanent solution for DREAMers. We simply cannot allow these 800,000 bright young men and women to live in fear of deportation. Preventing DREAMers from studying, working and helping our country prosper is a grave mistake. It is un-American. 

I truly am hopeful and moved by the tremendous grassroots efforts that have flourished across the nation in support of DREAMers, and I am incredibly proud to have joined the Dream Coalition. This bipartisan group of college presidents, governors, mayors, national security experts and business leaders understands the overwhelmingly positive impact DREAMers have made in our country, and the devastating and permanent consequences that removing them could inflict on their future, their families and our country. 

The Dream Coalition demonstrates that protecting DREAMers should not be a partisan issue. Elected officials across the political spectrum, along with educators, decorated military leaders and corporate executives, have united because they believe protecting DREAMers is the right thing to do for our communities, our economy, our schools, our military and virtually every other aspect of American life. 

But time is running out. Every day, DREAMers at campuses across the country are living in fear that their education might be cut short, and their dreams erased.

It must not come to this. As a country, we must all unite as we call on Congress to do the right thing. There is far too much at stake to wait any longer.