U.S. College & University Leaders Launch Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration To Advocate for Dreamers

Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor on Steering Committee; Keynotes National Press Club Event

WASHINGTON, DC –More than 140 American higher education leaders of public and private universities and university systems, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges representing hundreds of thousands of students, faculty, and staff from institutions across the United States—including Rutgers University – Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor—have launched the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a collective effort to improve how colleges and universities address immigration-related matters affecting their campuses. The Alliance will support adoption of best practices on campuses and work in a unified manner to communicate the need for federal and state policies that create a welcoming environment for immigrant, undocumented, and international students.

Cantor, who serves on the Alliance’s steering committee, gave a keynote address at a National Press Club event to signal the group’s formation and is helping shape efforts to urge members of Congress to work across the aisle between political parties to secure the future of Dreamers permanently. Joining Cantor on the steering committee are Noelle Cockett, President, Utah State University, UT; John J. DeGioia, Georgetown University, DC; Dorothy Leland, University of California - Merced, CA; David Oxtoby, President Emeritus, Pomona College, CA; Eduardo Padrón, Miami Dade College, FL; and Timothy White, The California State University, CA. Rutgers University President Robert Barchi, Rutgers-Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon, Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Deba Dutta, and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom all have joined the Alliance’s founding group of presidents and chancellors.

Among the full founding group of presidents and chancellors is a very broad range of institutions representing the breadth and depth of colleges and universities, including: Leon Botstein, Bard College, NY; Sylvia Burwell, American University, DC; Angel Cabrera, George Mason University, VA; Shirley Collado, Ithaca College, NY; Michael Crow, Arizona State University, AZ; José Luis Cruz, Lehman College, CUNY, NY; Christopher Eisgruber, Princeton University, NJ; Mark H. Erickson, Northampton Community College, PA; Drew Faust, Harvard University, MA; Jane Fernandes, Guilford College, NC; Elizabeth Hillman, Mills College, CA; Kent Ingle, Southeastern University, FL; Paula Johnson, Wellesley College, MA; Elizabeth Kiss, Agnes Scott College, GA; Thomas LeBlanc, George Washington University, DC; Patricia McGuire, Trinity Washington University, DC; Diana Natalicio, University of Texas - El Paso, TX; Bart Patterson, Nevada State College, NV; Lee Pelton, Emerson College, MA; Carol Quillen, Davidson College, NC; M. David Rudd, University of Memphis, TN; and G. Gabrielle Starr, Pomona College, CA.

The Alliance’s Founding Statement, Steering Committee, Founding Presidents and Membership can be found at www.presidentsimmigrationalliance.org.

An Enduring Alliance

“We call on all presidents to join us in using their voices to increase public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses, and communities and will increasingly determine the future of our nation,” said Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers University –Newark. “We serve the nation best when we help unleash the talent of those who have something to contribute, regardless of their immigration status or place of birth.”

“In launching this new effort, we affirm the important contributions that our immigrant communities make to higher education and to our nation’s future,” said John DeGioia, President of Georgetown University. “I look forward to our work together.”

“Colleges and universities play an integral role in securing our nation’s well-being and prosperity through our teaching, research, service, creative activities, and contributions to workforce and economic development,” said Noelle Cockett, President of Utah State University. “In addition to being our friends and neighbors, the immigrant and international students we are speaking out on behalf of are helping to drive innovation and discovery on campuses and growth and entrepreneurship in workplaces across the country.”

"What we are starting is a long-term effort to affirm the importance of immigrants and immigration, and educational opportunity, to our nation’s future and continued prosperity,” said Timothy White, Chancellor of the California State University. “It’s the right and the smart thing to do.”   

 Call for Action On DACA and Dreamers

“With the urgent threat that DACA recipients are currently facing, the Alliance and our member presidents’ first undertaking will be to urge Congress to protect Dreamers with permanent legislation as soon as possible,” said David Oxtoby, President Emeritus of Pomona College, which previously issued a letter signed by more than 700 college and university presidents urging Congress to protect DACA recipients.

“The breadth of support for the Alliance and for Dreamers from higher education leaders across the country underscores the high importance presidents place on the value of educating anyone and everyone with the talent and drive to contribute to our country and the world,” said Dorothy Leland, Chancellor of U.C. Merced.

“Our nation has benefited immeasurably from the hard work and dreams of those who first came to this country as immigrants yearning for a better life and later came to study in our colleges and universities,” said Eduardo Padrón, President of Miami Dade College. “I’m thrilled to join this effort to help unleash the talent of immigrant and undocumented students who are ready and eager to give back to their communities and states and to our country.”

About the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration: The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration is an alliance of American college and university leaders dedicated to increasing public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses and communities.  We support policies that create a welcoming environment for immigrant, undocumented and international students on our campuses. Learn more at www.presidentsimmigrationalliance.org.