I’m writing to share a joint statement released by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, along with presidents and trustees of the state’s 34 community and technical colleges, regarding an October 5, 2022 decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unlawful. The court also ruled current DACA enrollees could renew their status and sent the case back to a lower court to consider a regulation enacted by the Biden administration to strengthen the DACA program against legal challenges.
We are deeply disappointed by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ October 5, 2022 decision regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the ongoing uncertainty it creates for DACA recipients, their families, and our communities across Washington state.
DACA was introduced as an executive order in 2012 to protect eligible immigrants who came to the United States as children to work legally and continue their studies without the debilitating fear of deportation. Today, nearly 600,000 people are active in the DACA program, including many of Washington’s community and technical college students.
Students in the DACA program are part of the fabric of our college communities. They are students, classmates, friends, neighbors, family members, coworkers and members of our local communities. Dreamers elevate our culture and our economy and create a brighter future for Washington.
Since our community and technical college system was founded 55 years ago, we have welcomed students from all backgrounds and held firmly to our belief that education be open, equitable and accessible to all students who enter our doors. This will not change. Despite the continued legal rulings around DACA, our colleges remain resolute in support of DACA students. Undocumented and DACA students can continue to enroll, stay enrolled, graduate, and achieve the dreams that brought them through our doors.
While we are troubled by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that the DACA program is unlawful, we do support its decision to allow current DACA recipients to apply for renewal of their DACA status. Our community and technical college system will continue to advocate for legislation to secure a permanent pathway to citizenship for undocumented Washingtonians. We know – without a doubt – that our quality of life here in Washington improves when everyone has a lifetime of educational opportunity.
Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, chair of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Chris Bailey, president of the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges
Greg Dietzel, president of the Association of College Trustees
I strongly believe in the power of education to transform lives. When we extend educational opportunities to all regardless of immigration status, it strengthens our community and powers our economy. At Bellevue College, we will always stand with, and advocate for, our students.
Last Updated October 17, 2022