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Real Progress and a Hoped-For DREAM

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 26, 2017) — President Havidán Rodríguez traveled to Washington, D.C., Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with members of Congress, students and alumni as part of the SUNY Day DC annual day of advocacy to highlight the academic and research strengths of the SUNY system and its individual campuses.

He also joined in the push for Congress to enact the DREAM Act, legislation that would create a path to residency and then citizenship for qualified undocumented minors.

As part of his schedule, Rodríguez met with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, whose district includes all three UAlbany campuses, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat of the Bronx and U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin ’01 of Long Island. He also met with students enrolled in Rockefeller’s Semester in Washington Program — juniors and seniors who are getting an insider’s view of how the federal government works and policy is made.

On Wednesday, Rodríguez stood with SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Senate Democrat Minority Whip Dick Durbin, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), U-California-Davis Chancellor Gary May, Rep. Espaillat, Chancellor Johnson and UB President Satish K. Tripathi, as well as other elected and higher education leaders from across the country, to call on Congress to pass the DREAM Act.

The legislation would protect enrollees in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more commonly known as DACA, for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

“As a university leader, I have seen first-hand the transformative power of DACA on the lives of students,” Rodríguez said. “We must urge Congress to uphold and continue this critical policy — which not only benefits the Dreamers but also cultivates inclusive excellence in our communities, our institutions of higher education, and our local economies.”

“My grandparents came to America through Ellis Island and, like many children of immigrants, my mother pursued education as a way to better herself, her family, and her community,” said Johnson. “The privilege to do this — to pursue the American Dream — is one that our nation promised to DACA enrollees. It is a privilege that, today, Congress can and must act to protect.”

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