Four Local University Presidents to Sign Letter Supporting a 'Clean' Dream Act


Presidents at four of Memphis' higher education institutions will sign a letter to Tennessee congressmen and senators asking them to support legislation that protects Dreamers.

After President Donald Trump's administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September, nearly 800,000 would-be DACA recipients were left in uncertainty, as well as faced the risk of denied education, unemployment, and deportation.

Now, Dr. Majorie Hass of Rhodes College, Dr. Jay Earheart-Brown of the Memphis Theological Seminary, Dr. John Smarrelli of Christian Brothers University, and Dr. Tracy Hall of Southwest Tennessee Community College will sign a letter, demanding that the state's legislators support a "clean version" of the Dream Act of 2017.

A clean Dream Act would provide protection for Dreamers and their families, while not increasing funding for greater border enforcement, expanded immigrant detention, militarized borders, or construction of a wall at the country's southern border.

Instead, the clean bipartisan Dream Act would allow undocumented immigrants who entered the country before the age of 18 to apply for permanent resident status. Those who satisfy work, educational, or military requirements will be able to apply for a green card and follow the regular process to obtain citizenship.

The four university presidents will come together on Wednesday, Nov. 15 to voice their support of the bill and participate in an analysis and panel discussion about the various versions of the Dream Act.

Hosted by Latino Memphis, the panel discussion will also feature Jeanne Batalova, senior policy analyst at the Washington D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute. Batalova will discuss the institute's comparative study of varying Dream Act versions, which breaks down the potential benefits of the act based on certain demographics, like age and gender.

The panel will convene at the Halloran Centre from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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