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Tripathi, Johnson urge passage of bipartisan Dream Act

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (at the podium), joined by other lawakers and university leaders, including President Satish K. Tripathi (third from right) and SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson (fourth from right), urges Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act. Photo: Robert Mayer

By SUE WUETCHER

Published October 26, 2017

“The University at Buffalo is committed to a diverse and inclusive campus community, and we urge Congress to protect the earned rights of New York State’s 42,000 DACA enrollees.”
President Satish K. Tripathi

President Satish K. Tripathi and SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson were among several university presidents and chancellors joining lawmakers and “dreamers” in Washington yesterday to urge Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act.

“On behalf of the University at Buffalo, I once again would like to publicly express my support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” Tripathi said. “All students, including DACA students across our state and our nation, should have the opportunity to pursue their educational goals and their professional aspirations.

“The University at Buffalo is committed to a diverse and inclusive campus community, and we urge Congress to protect the earned rights of New York State’s 42,000 DACA enrollees.”

Johnson told those attending the press conference that her grandparents came to America through Ellis Island, and that like many children of immigrants, her mother pursued education as a way to better herself, her family and her community.

“The privilege to do this — to pursue the American Dream — is one that our nation promised to DACA enrollees,” she said. “It is a privilege that, today, Congress can and must act to protect.

“As chancellor of the country’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education and the granddaughter of immigrants, I am proud to stand with students, colleagues and federal representatives in today’s call for the immediate passage of the Dream Act.”

The bipartisan Dream Act would offer legal permanent residence — and eventually a pathway to citizenship — to young immigrants if they arrived in the U.S. as children, obtained a high school degree or GED, and are enrolled in higher education, employed or serve in the military.

President Donald Trump rescinded DACA last month and passed the issue to Congress.

Other academic leaders attending the press conference were University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez; Stony Brook President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.; Gary May, chancellor for the University of California, Davis; and the Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

Lawmakers attending included New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-IL, who introduced the bipartisan Dream Act in the Senate; House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA; Rep. Joe Crowley, D-NY, chair of the House Democratic Caucus; Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-NY; Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA; and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA.