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Saturday May 21st

Government shutdown amid DACA debate affects students, higher education

<p>UNC senior Rubi Franco Quiroz speaks on Sept. 18 at the DACA in Crisis event, a panel discussion comprised of lawyers, activists and students about how to support the undocumented and DACAmented community.</p>
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UNC senior Rubi Franco Quiroz speaks on Sept. 18 at the DACA in Crisis event, a panel discussion comprised of lawyers, activists and students about how to support the undocumented and DACAmented community.

The federal government shutdown ended Monday with a tentative bipartisan agreement to find a solution to replace Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Daniel Gitterman, a UNC public policy professor, said the shutdown was a result of a filibuster by U.S. Senate Democrats demanding the opportunity for a DACA replacement to reach the Senate floor. 

“It appears that there was an agreement made between the majority and the minority leaders — U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer — that McConnell would take up immigration legislation in the future,” Gitterman said.

A White House press release called the closure the “Schumer Shutdown." The statement, released Jan. 19, placed responsibility on the shoulders of Senate Democrats, blaming them for holding citizens hostage in order to negotiate a solution for DREAMers.

“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown,” the press release said. “Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children and our country’s ability to serve all Americans. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators.”

Gitterman said the possibility of Congress addressing a DACA solution is still unclear. While Senate Democrats may have the support of enough moderate Republicans in the Senate, a DACA replacement would still require approval from both the U.S. House of Representatives and the president.

The American Council on Education, a leader in higher education public policy advocacy, released a statement Monday showing support for the end of the government shutdown. ACE was glad that the agreement promised discussion of a DACA replacement and pledged its support to find suitable legislation for DREAMers.

“College and university presidents are extremely concerned about the future of DREAMers, the group of bright and high-achieving young people brought to this country as children,” the statement said. “We reiterate that it is unacceptable for DREAMers to be held hostage to a political face-off and left in limbo as they try to make decisions beyond the next few weeks about their education, jobs or service in the military.”

Gitterman said a DACA replacement is crucial for DREAMers on college campuses who are uncertain if they will be able to find careers after graduation. 

“I’ve had many DACA recipients in my office crying because the labor market trajectory for them is really uncertain if they legally can’t work,” he said. “We will have a significant number of DACA college graduates who can’t work in this country if this doesn’t get fixed.”

@DTHStatNat

state@dailytarheel.com

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