President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Daniel Diermeier sent versions of this letter to all members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation on Sept. 5, 2017.
September 5, 2017
The Honorable Dick Durbin
711 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Durbin,
One of the great strengths of higher education in the United States is our ability to welcome immigrants and the wide range of talents and perspectives they bring to this country. The University of Chicago has long been committed to bringing together some of the world’s most talented scholars and students, regardless of their backgrounds or countries of origin. One vital program in this effort is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has made it possible for about 800,000 students who live in the United States to pursue opportunities that might otherwise be closed to them. Some of those students have attended the University of Chicago, where their flourishing benefits themselves, their fellow students, and their communities.
For all these reasons, we are deeply concerned by the administration’s announcement today that it plans to discontinue the DACA program in six months. Like their peers at the University of Chicago, our students who qualify for DACA are among the most intellectually promising students in the world. Our university community and our nation will be diminished if they are unable to continue contributing their talents here.
We greatly appreciate your consistent leadership on DACA and the understanding you have demonstrated concerning its impact on higher education, and by extension the potential effects on innovation and the economic vitality of our country. We would strongly support efforts by you and others in Congress to address this issue through legislation that protects the ability of DACA-eligible students to live in the United States and pursue their education and careers here.
Please do not hesitate to seek our assistance or further input as you and your colleagues in Congress pursue a solution for this important issue.
Robert J. Zimmer