The Jan. 12 letter was addressed to Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who first introduced the bill in December and reintroduced it to the new Congress this month. The bill would provide temporary legal status to those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which gave young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children protection from deportation and a work permit. President-elect Donald Trump has stated he would eliminate the program after taking office.
In addition to the protections it provides to those in the DACA program, the BRIDGE Act would allow those undocumented immigrants who are DACA-eligible to apply for the same temporary protected status as long as they pay a fee and undergo a background check. The Act would not provide a path to U.S. citizenship.
“The CCCU has long been a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform that respects the rule of law and creates new opportunities for the many undocumented students currently attending CCCU campuses,” CCCU President Shirley V. Hoogstra wrote in the letter. “As educators, we want to support ambitious, driven, intelligent students who have dreams of contributing to their communities and want to pursue an education, and we do not believe they should be disqualified from doing so because of acts they did not commit.”
Hoogstra is the CCCU’s fifth consecutive president to support legislation that would give a path toward legal residency or citizenship for children and young adults who are in the United States illegally through no fault of their own. In addition to Hoogstra’s letter, the CCCU also signed letters supporting legislation that would protect undocumented students that were sent by the American Council on Education and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
The CCCU is a member of the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), a broad coalition of evangelical organizations. The EIT promotes the need for comprehensive immigration reform that respects both the dignity of every person and the rule of law, while also ensuring both fairness to taxpayers and protection of family unity.
Additionally, the CCCU has expressed firm support of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was first introduced in 2001 and was last voted on in 2011; it did not pass Congress. In addition to providing protection from deportation for young undocumented immigrants, the DREAM Act would have allowed certain immigrants to obtain temporary legal status and eventually apply for and obtain permanent legal status and then U.S. citizenship, once they had met certain requirements.
The Spring 2014 issue of CCCU’s Advance magazine included a feature article that outlined the CCCU’s history of support for the DREAM Act and its reasons for that support, as well as included interviews with CCCU students who were undocumented. The Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Advance included a feature essay by Warner Pacific College President Andrea P. Cook about the important need for Christian colleges and universities to promote the growth and flourishing of underrepresented communities, as well as interviews with several students from CCCU campuses across the country.
Read the full text of the letter here.
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 178 Christian institutions around the world. The 115 member campuses in North America are all regionally accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences and whose missions are Christ-centered and rooted in the historic Christian faith. In addition, 63 affiliate campuses from 20 countries are part of the CCCU. The CCCU’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit www.cccu.org.