In recent years, immigrant rights organizations, students and social activists have called on U.S. higher education institutions to get behind state and federal legislative measures, such as the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform. While legislative action on immigration reform policies has been very limited, colleges and university campuses at least proved to be friendly places for discussion among those debating and advocating reform.
In the wake of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address during which he proclaimed that “leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities … all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” higher education leaders appear to be joining the coalition of those behind immigration reform.
“I think we’re seeing a different type of coalition this time. I’m seeing more colleges and universities join the fight for immigration reform,” says Dr. Darrell West, vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution think tank.
Last week’s open letter by three prominent college leaders sent to more than 1,200 university and college presidents urging their support for “immigration policies that will help attract and retain the world’s best and brightest” sent a clear message that higher education leaders are ready to join the reform coalition that President Obama noted in his State of the Union speech.