Five Florida university presidents assist a pathway to citizenship for Florida’s Dreamers

As presidents of 5 Florida universities, our finest joy is looking at our college students go after and attain their dreams and aspirations, and we are immensely happy of the impact our college students have on the fantastic point out of Florida. They are setting up the overall economy of tomorrow and aiding to bolster Florida’s extensive-time period prosperity.

But among our very best are hundreds of Florida school students with unbelievable opportunity whose vivid futures stand to be eclipsed if Congress continues to punt on building a pathway to citizenship for them.

Since 2012, many Dreamers — younger individuals who arrived to the U.S. as youngsters with no documentation — have gained short term deportation protections and the capacity to study and lawfully work by way of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan. But DACA is a temporary plan meant to delay the chilling prospect of deporting 650,000 men and women from the only households they have at any time identified right until Congress legislates a pathway to citizenship, which — in over three presidential administrations — it has failed to do.

With extra than 12,000 DACA-eligible college students in Florida, every day on our campuses we see firsthand the hopes, aspirations and hard operate of many of Florida’s nearly 70,000 Dreamers. Granting them a pathway to citizenship is no act of charity it is enlightened self-desire.

Consider this: Nationwide, about 200,000 DACA recipients — extra than one-3rd of the complete DACA inhabitants — were being on the frontlines of the pandemic as important employees. Over and above their expertise and skills, their elimination would value our condition $1.4 billion in tax profits and additional than $77 million in GDP contributions. As leaders of academic institutions supported by tax dollars, we know way too perfectly how agonizing this decline would be for our state. Apart from it getting the morally correct thing to do, a pathway to citizenship for these youthful persons suggests unlocking and unleashing their remarkable economic prospective.

Regrettably Texas Circuit Court docket Decide Andrew Hanen a short while ago ruled DACA illegal and shut its protections entirely to new candidates, inserting countless numbers of our very best Floridians in limbo, not able to program for their brilliant futures.

A lasting answer is feasible. Earlier this 12 months, the Dwelling, with bipartisan help, passed the American Dream and Assure Act, which would give Dreamers and other individuals with temporary lawful standing the possibility to gain citizenship. In the Senate, the bipartisan Aspiration Act released in February by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Unwell., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would offer DACA recipients the capability to generate a pathway to citizenship, but it has not obtained a vote in the Senate.

Our senators now have the option to assistance a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers in the upcoming funds reconciliation system. We urge Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to guidance these bipartisan and prevalent feeling immigration methods.

In executing so, they can support extend our workforce, provide a lot required certainty to families and businesses, and equip our overall economy with the equipment important to roar again from the pandemic.

This shouldn’t be a complicated conclusion, with more than two-thirds of American voters supporting a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

We go to perform each individual working day to foster the hopes and goals of our students who are eager to make a variation and make better lives for themselves, their families, and our communities, executing what the IMPAC Fund, the American Business Immigration Council and the Presidents’ Alliance on Larger Training and Immigration last month named Satisfying Florida’s Guarantee.

All of our pupils have desires and aspirations that will enrich our state and place, and we all drop if individuals goals go unfulfilled.

David A. Armstrong is president of St. Thomas University. Grant H. Cornwell is president of Rollins Higher education. George L. Hanbury II is president and CEO of Nova Southeastern College. Mike Allen is president of Barry College. Jeffrey D. Senese is president of Saint Leo College.