Columbia Gorge Community College board members last week formally opposed efforts by the White House to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, joining a national effort by the American Association of Community Colleges to encourage federal legislation allowing DACA recipients to pursue higher education in the United States, according to a college press release.
College board members also urged the public to contact members of Congress in support of DACA and enactment of the “Dream Act” or comparable legislation to safeguard those who arrived in the United States as children but who have not yet achieved citizenship.
As a Hispanic Serving Institution with more than 35 percent Latino/a enrollment, CGCC is a Sanctuary campus, a designation emphasizing legal protection for all students through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This federal law safeguards student education records for all institutions that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Columbia Gorge Community College is one of those institutions, distributing millions of dollars annually in student financial aid.
“As the board of Columbia Gorge Community College, we join the American Association of Community Colleges, Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Oregon’s universities and other community colleges in emphasizing our commitment to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and new federal legislation to build upon its protections,” the board stated.
“We urge the public to join us by contacting members of Congress to voice concern over recent threats to the well-being of our Latino/a community. Like generations of immigrants before them, these individuals strengthen our economy and enrich our lives as they become part of the multi-cultural tapestry that makes the United States unique among nations. Diversity should be celebrated, never discouraged.”
The college board invited current and potential students who would be adversely affected by loss of DACA to contact CGCC Student Services, which maintains a resource list of community services available to all students. These include referrals to immigration legal counseling, transportation, child care, housing and other support systems offered by community partner organizations.
Official statements establishing national and statewide community college positions in support of DACA are posted on the college website, www.cgcc.edu.