With a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected as early as next week on the future of Colorado’s 15,000 “Dreamer” immigrants, who are studying and working here under a federal program called DACA, the leaders of 26 Colorado colleges and universities called on Colorado’s Congressional delegation to “enact permanent legislative protection for Dreamers and to ensure that the administration does not arrest, detain, or deport these individuals following an adverse Supreme Court decision.”

In a letter to the delegation, the higher-education officials wrote:

In the midst of our national COVID-19 crisis, we want to express our deep concern of how this crisis is also impacting DACA recipients and Dreamers. As presidents and chancellors of public and private institutions of higher education in Colorado, we are reaching out to ask for your support in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on DACA in the next few months.

Our schools vary in size, student body, and mission, but all of our institutions recognize and value the contributions of these individuals to our campuses, community, and country. As higher education leaders, we firmly believe in investing in the success of all students, regardless of immigration status, and we urge you to enact permanent legislative protection for Dreamers and to ensure that the administration does not arrest, detain, or deport these individuals following an adverse Supreme Court decision.

The Supreme Court will likely put an end to a lengthy period of uncertainty about the DACA program.

The end of the program would “translate into a loss for our state’s economy,” states the letter, which refers to Dreamers as “aspiring Americans who contribute so much to our economy and communities.”

In an opinion piece in The Hill, Janine Davidson, President of Metropolitan State University of Denver, wrote:

DACA students at Metropolitan State University of Denver are working to become nurses, social workers, engineers and public servants. Even one of our trustees, a first-generation college graduate who became a teacher, is a DACA recipient. 

Nationwide, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports in a recent amicus brief that there are over 27,000 DACA recipients currently working in critical health care professions and on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. These are the people who are needed to help this country combat the pandemic and who will help the country recover and compete afterward.

Signatories to the letter include:

Angie Paccione, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education; Janine Davidson, President, Metropolitan State University of Denver; Greg Salsbury, President, Western Colorado University; Father John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J., President, Regis University; Jeremy Haefner, Chancellor, University of Denver; Joe Garcia, President, Colorado Community College System; Tim Foster, President, Colorado Mesa University; Tom Stritikus, President, Fort Lewis College; Colorado Higher Education Institutions Support for DACA Recipients; Mark R. Kennedy, President, University of Colorado System; Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor, University of Colorado Boulder; Donald M. Elliman Jr., Chancellor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; Dorothy Horrell, Chancellor, University of Colorado Denver; Venkat Reddy, University of Colorado Colorado Springs; Tony Frank, President, Colorado State University System; Joyce E. McConnell, President, Colorado State University Ft. Collins; Becky Takeda-Tinker, President and CEO, Colorado State University Global; Timothy Mottet; President, Colorado State University Pueblo; Andy Feinstein, President, University of Northern Colorado; Stephanie Donner, Executive Director, Emily Griffith Technical College; Charles G. Lief, President, Naropa University; Jill Tiefenthaler, President, Colorado College; Paul Johnson, President, Colorado School of Mines; Carrie Besnette Hauser, President, Colorado Mountain College; Cheryl D. Lovell, President, Adams State University; Colleen Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Auraria Higher Education Center; Leah L. Bornstein, President, Aims Community College