ICYMI: SUNY Leaders Urge Congress to Protect DACA Enrollees and Pass the DREAM Act

October 25, 2017

Washington, DC – State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson today joined leaders from the U.S. House and Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to urge Congress to protect DACA enrollees and pass the DREAM Act. University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi and University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez also participated in the event.

The press conference is available online on YouTube.

Chancellor Johnson’s remarks were as follows:

"Thank you leader [House Democrat Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi, senators, congressmen and women, colleagues, friends. A hundred years ago my grandparents came to the United States, emigrated from Ireland through Ellis Island. Their daughter, my mother, understood that education was the way to ‘rise them out of the grime,’ to quote ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,’ and hence make a better life for the family.

"The opportunity to pursue the American Dream was there for my mother, and is promised to those who enroll in DACA now. And today, we ask Congress to keep that promise, our promise, to protect DACA enrollees through this DREAM Act legislation.

"I’m here today as Kathleen and Robert’s daughter, and as chancellor of The State University of New York, the largest comprehensive higher education system in the country, serving 1.3 million students.

"In New York, thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, we removed tuition as a barrier to higher education. Now we need to remove the barrier for the more than 800,000 DACA enrollees, the new American Dreamers, most of whom are under the age of 25.

"Their parents brought them to this great nation as children. Many have completed high school education and served in our military. They are our neighbors, they are our co-workers, they are our friends, and members of our families. Their contributions are enormous – it is stated that if we remove the DACA enrollees from our gross domestic product, it would cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars over the next ten years, and would impact states like California and the state of New York enormously.

"These individuals, like my grandparents and my mother before them, deserve the same opportunity to contribute to our country. They deserve a fair and permanent pathway to citizenship without the fear of deportation. The DREAM Act is their opportunity.

"I stand today with my colleagues in both the SUNY and University of California systems, as well as all other institutions of higher education, and our elected officials, to ask Congress to pass the DREAM Act. Thank you very much."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.

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