Over the past few years on “Running the Campus,” I have written frequently about the important role immigrants play on NECC’s campuses and in the communities we serve.
In “Immigration and Higher Education” I shared some statistics about NECC students and sought to separate fact from fiction when it comes to describing immigrants in America.
In “Pass the Higher Education Equity Act” I argued that providing in-state tuition benefits to qualified, undocumented students is not just a social justice issue, it is an economic and workforce imperative for the Commonwealth. Last year, thankfully, Massachusetts did indeed pass the “Tuition Equity Act,” which now extends in-state tuition and financial aid to qualified, undocumented students.
And in “The Presidents’ Alliance on Immigration and Higher Education” I recounted NECC’s history as Massachusetts’ first federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution, and announced that we would be joining hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide to form a new alliance of higher education leaders, “dedicated to increasing public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses and communities. We support policies that create a welcoming environment for immigrant, undocumented and international students on our campuses.”
Today, I am proud to share that, as a founding member of that alliance, Northern Essex Community College has joined 168 colleges, universities, institutions, and nonprofits in 32 states and Washington, D.C. to file an amicus brief in support of an appeal in Texas v. United States, the case involving the legality of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
You can view and download the brief at this link: State of Texas v. United States: Amicus Brief Supporting DACA Recipients.
On September 13, 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen found that the Biden Administration rule issued in 2022 that formalized DACA was unlawful. Although the court left the program in place for current DACA recipients, the future of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers hangs in the balance. On November 9, 2023, the Biden Administration and MALDEF filed appeals in the case in defense of DACA, and the case is back before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
NECC joined this “friend of the court” brief to demonstrate our unwavering support for our DACA and immigrant students. DACA students bring a tremendous amount of diversity to campuses across the nation, especially ours. The triumph of DACA students is our triumph, as they inject new perspectives into our campuses and prepare to fill vital roles in our workforce. The continued existence of DACA is essential to ensure the career and life success of the students, faculty, staff, and community members making vital contributions to our institution and the nation at large — our institution stands behind DACA students and all Dreamers.
While the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cannot accept newapplications for DACA status until the 5th Circuit case is settled, anyone with less than one year remaining of an existing DACA status should consider renewing their application immediately.
For more information about DACA status renewal, visit the USCIS web site, or contact NECC Director of International Student Support and Special Populations Maria Hernandez at email@example.com or (978) 556-3726. The Higher Ed Immigration Portal also has many helpful resources.
Immigration has been an essential part of higher education in America since long before we were a nation; And immigration continues to contribute to higher education in vital ways today.
Nationwide, nearly six million immigrant-origin students are enrolled in U.S. colleges, representing nearly more than 30 percent of all U.S. college students.
Some of those students, including students here at NECC, are “Dreamers,” provided temporary legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Today, NECC, as one of 168 signatories to this amicus brief, stands by our students, and stands by the principles that have built this nation and strengthened our system of higher education.