The AAMC joined more than 60 national higher education organizations in a Nov. 17 letter led by the American Council on Education to congressional leaders, encouraging them to pass legislation to protect those covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before the end of the 117th Congress this year. The organizations stressed making DACA a priority given recent court decisions declaring the program illegal that have left its participants in legal limbo [refer to Washington Highlights, Oct. 7].
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and other legislators held a Nov. 16 press conference on the urgent need to protect DACA before the next Congress convenes. In his remarks, Durbin appealed to his Republican colleagues — 10 Republican votes are needed to ensure passage of some version of the Dream Act of 2021 (S. 264) — and noted the previous strong bipartisan support of “Dreamers,” those immigrants the bill would serve, have had in Congress and from the American public. It has been widely reported that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the House would try to pass the Dream Act in the lame-duck session during a Democratic caucus meeting.
Last year, the AAMC submitted a comment letter in support of the DACA proposed rule designed to preserve and fortify the program from legal challenges [refer to Washington Highlights, Dec. 3, 2021]. The 2021 letter also called on “Congress to enact a permanent pathway to citizenship for individuals with DACA status, including approximately 30,000 health professionals.” In 2019, the AAMC filed an amicus brief, joined by 32 organizations representing a range of health professional education groups, opposing DACA’s rescission and informing the Supreme Court that the country had a critical need for those health care professionals whose work authorization depends on DACA.