In response to the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program as announced Tuesday, September 05, 2017 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Colorado Community College System President Nancy McCallin shared the following special message.
In the spirit of our open access mission, the Colorado Community College System welcomes all who aspire to enrich their lives, regardless of where they were born, where they consider home, or where they hold citizenship. Our students who are U.S. citizens come from many backgrounds and many states. Our non-citizen student population includes international students, permanent residents and undocumented students. Colorado may be the only home many of our undocumented students have ever known. Their home now is with us, in the communities we serve. All of our students, documented and undocumented, citizen and non-citizen, contribute to our ability to fulfill our mission of embracing academic excellence, diversity, and innovation by bringing their unique and valued perspectives to our community.
Many undocumented students have taken the steps necessary to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Discontinuing DACA raises some very troubling questions. What does this mean for our students and what does it mean for our Colleges and the broader community? As we awaited the announcement last week, I sent a message encouraging staff across our Colleges to reach out to our affected students during this difficult time and urging Congress to act swiftly to provide students with the protections and benefits afforded by the DACA program.
We remain concerned that without DACA’s protections and benefits, affected students may decide to forego their pursuit of higher education and job training. The resulting hardships extend beyond the lives of the affected students and their families, to our Colleges and communities that will lose the contributions of these students and the strength we gain from their diversity.
The DACA program was created by an executive order in 2012. Under the program students could qualify for 2-year renewable protection against removal from the country and the opportunity to work. Current information available from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicates that no further applications will be accepted, however, students whose DACA authorization is set to expire before March 5, 2018 have until October 5, 2017 to apply for a two-year renewal. DHS has indicated that it will continue to recognize DACA authorizations until they expire at the end of their two-year lifespans, which means the program protections run out at different times for different recipients. The last authorization is currently set to expire March 5, 2020.
As a System, we are committed to maintaining access for all who desire to learn. The Colorado Community College System joins with colleges and universities nationwide in urging swift Congressional action to preserve the opportunities DACA has afforded students throughout Colorado and across the nation.
Our Colleges have internal and external resources that assist all students in finding ways to make college affordable and connect students experiencing difficulty coping with the stress of uncertainty with the help they need. Students are encouraged to visit their college website for specific information, resources, and contacts. For instance, our Colleges can assist students to identify available scholarships and community support agencies. They can also provide guidance on qualifying for in-state tuition, based on a number of statutory criteria including the state’s ASSET law which permits some undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition. However, ASSET does not affect a student’s immigrations status.
Students who wish to better understand their immigration options are encouraged to consult an immigration attorney. The links appearing below are provided to assist students in locating licensed immigration attorneys and other support.
Dr. Nancy McCallin
Colorado Community College System President
Please note the links listed above are a convenience to our students. This is not an endorsement or approval of the sponsoring groups or any of the services, information or opinions in the links. CCCS is not responsible for the accuracy of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Interested parties may contact the external site for answers to questions regarding content.