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Action-A-Day 3/8: Oppose the Federal Immigration Law Campus Compliance Act

ACTION:  Oppose the Federal Immigration Law Campus Compliance Act of 2017 (H.R. 1342), sponsored by Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1). This bill would withhold reimbursement for “indirect” or overhead costs associated with research and development grants from any institutions of higher education that do not comply with a federal govt request for information or detainment of an undocumented immigrant.

Source:  The UndocuScholars Project,  "In The Shadow of the Ivory Tower: Undocumented Undergraduates and the Liminal State of Immigration Reform."

  • Nearly 250,000 undocumented undergraduates are struggling to find their way in higher education.
  • In a sample of 909 undocumented students, participants on average had resided 14.8 years in the U.S. In most cases, the majority of their lives had been spent in the U.S.
  • 72% were working while attending college.
  • 67% were first-generation college students. 
  • Deportation is a constant concern. Over 3/4 of participants reported worries about being detained or deported. 
  • Undocumented undergrads reported significantly elevated levels of anxiety. 
  • Undocumented undergrads reported strong longings to belong in American society. A vast majority (90.4%) said they would become citizens if they could. 

DACA: Temporary immigration relief for eligible undocumented youth
In 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) was created by President Obama. DACA recipients receive employment authorization, which allows them to work legally and usually enables them to obtain drivers' licenses. DACA is not a law. It was created by Executive Action and can be revoked at any time. 

Growing calls for "sanctuary campuses"
Post-election concerns about DACA students and other undocumented individuals on our nation’s campuses have led to coast-to-coast protests and pleas for colleges and universities to offer sanctuary to protect undocumented community members from deportation. The idea of a "sanctuary campus" -- like a "sanctuary city" -- has no agreed upon meaning and does not involve a legal status recognized under federal law. 

Many undocumented students have no way of ever becoming U.S. citizens. No matter how hard working or successful, many fear deportation to countries rife with violence and towns they may not remember where people speak languages they may not know.

Maryland's Dream Act grants in-state tuition rates to "any student who graduates from a Maryland high school and comes from a family who has paid taxes. If the individual is a male he must also complete his Selective Service form and prove his acceptance."

1. Call Congressman Andy Harris. 
DC -- 202-225-5311
Bel Air -- 410-588-5670
Kent Island -- 410-643-5425
Salisbury -- 443-944-8624

2. Tweet your opposition  to @RepAndyHarrisMD.
#HereToStay #UndocuScholars #HigherEducation #undocumented

3. Contact House leadership on the Judiciary & the Science, Space, and Technology committees to voice your opposition. 

4. Start a conversation about the challenges faced by undocumented young people, who were brought to the U.S.  as children and did not choose to break the law, but now face obstacles in establishing stable and secure lives. 
Resources: National Immigrant Justice Center, Ambassador Program Toolkit

SAMPLE SCRIPT (Use your own words)
I am disappointed that Congressman Harris has sponsored the Federal Immigration Law Campus Compliance Act of 2017. It is not the responsibility of colleges & universities to police whether their students are documented or undocumented. This bill would pointlessly make it harder for undocumented students to get a college education and contribute fully to our country's economy. 

"Illegal" video about undocumented college students / young people (6:09):
Highly recommended

Immigration Myths (uLEAD module: Immigration & Higher Ed Policy)

Introduced by Harris on 3/2/17 and referred to the House Judiciary & the House Science, Space, and Technology committees.

Track H.R. 1342 here: