Dr. Jeff Wagnitz, Highline College’s Acting President, has joined the presidents of Washington’s six public baccalaureate college and universities, 33 other community and technical colleges, the 10 members of Independent Colleges of Washington, and the 10 members of Washington Student Achievement Council in a joint statement protesting President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, also known as DACA, in six months.
“Today’s announcement leaves us with profound disappointment and pained yet unequivocal resolve to stand up for our students who are among the 800,000 nationwide registered under DACA. These young people are some of the finest and most resilient students at our colleges and universities, often exhibiting unique character forged in the fire of adversity. They overcome major obstacles just to gain and retain eligibility without access to the federal financial assistance needed by so many to help make a college education attainable.
In Washington, all of our students, regardless of their immigration status, are invaluable to the teaching we provide in our classrooms, the research we perform in our labs, and the discoveries we make in medicine. These students and those who came before them are not strangers on our campuses, in our communities, and in our homes. They are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and our family. They are us.
Our nation’s history has proven that education and service are essential components to sustaining communities and stimulating economic growth in addition to helping create personal success and happiness. Washington ‘s colleges and universities are working aggressively to produce graduates with degrees in science, business, technology, and medicine and a variety of other high-demand areas of endeavor. Employers in their desperate search for talented young people are already reaching out of state to fill top jobs. DACA graduates are playing and will continue to play an important role in meeting this critical need in the state of Washington. They embody the initiative and resolve that has made the United States of America the most prosperous and innovative country in the world.
This lamentable decision to end DACA threatens to rob us of hundreds of thousands of gifted, hardworking, and dedicated young people who are American in every way but their immigration status. We agree with the many business leaders throughout the country who are urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or legislation that will allow these students to continue to contribute to the global competitive environment.”
To learn more about Highline’s position on DACA, read the January message from Acting President Jeff Wagnitz.
People representing more than 120 cultures attend classes at the college. With over 70 percent students of color, Highline ranks as the most diverse higher education institution in Washington state. The college’s globally focused environment for higher education provides a natural fit for its diverse community and an important reflection of its core values.