The Hon­or­able Lamar Alexan­der
Dirk­sen Sen­ate Office Build­ing SD- 455
Wash­ing­ton, DC 20510

The Hon­or­able Bob Cork­er
Dirk­sen Sen­ate Office Build­ing SD- 425
Wash­ing­ton, DC 20510

Dear Sen­a­tors Lamar Alexan­der and Bob Cork­er,

As mem­bers of the Ten­nessee Edu­ca­tion­al Equi­ty Coali­tion, we write you to express our sup­port for the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram. The Ten­nessee Edu­ca­tion­al Equi­ty Coali­tion is a diverse group of civil rights and edu­ca­tion advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions whose goal is to build a shared advo­ca­cy agen­da to address achieve­ment and oppor­tu­ni­ty gaps for stu­dents across the state. We write you to respect­ful­ly request that you sup­port the DACA pro­gram and that you urge Pres­i­dent Trump to keep the DACA pro­gram intact until a leg­isla­tive solu­tion is passed. 

One of the guid­ing pol­i­cy prin­ci­pals for the Ten­nessee Edu­ca­tion­al Equi­ty Coali­tion is that all stu­dents in our state deserve equi­table and appro­pri­ate resources and sup­ports. We believe that every child — regard­less of their age, gen­der, socioe­co­nom­ic sta­tus, eth­nic­i­ty or doc­u­men­ta­tion sta­tus — deserves to have an excel­lent edu­ca­tion. We sup­port DACA because research shows that hav­ing a path to high­er edu­ca­tion and employ­ment increas­es stu­dent achieve­ment, grad­u­a­tion rates, and par­tic­i­pa­tion in high­er edu­ca­tion. We advo­cate for all stu­dents to be able to reach their post­sec­ondary and career dreams, and DACA pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty for over 8,000 stu­dents in Ten­nessee to do just that.

DACA recip­i­ents are young peo­ple who were brought to the Unit­ed States as chil­dren — some not even school age — through no fault of their own. They proud­ly call Amer­i­ca home, and con­sid­er them­selves Ten­nesseans. To be clear, DACA recip­i­ents are not just chil­dren — they are doc­tors, lawyers, engi­neers, and edu­ca­tors. DACA recip­i­ents in Ten­nessee, and across the coun­try, pay tax­es and con­tribute to eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment.

As edu­ca­tors and civil rights lead­ers, we urge you to stand with the­se Ten­nesseans and sup­port the DACA pro­gram. Elim­i­nat­ing DACA will not fix our bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem, instead it will leave over 800,000 young adults across the coun­try with­out a viable oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­tribute. With­out DACA, as a coun­try we would lose over 433 bil­lion dol­lars in GDP over the next 10 years. Elim­i­nat­ing DACA will also cause the state of Ten­nessee to lose over 8,000 work­ers. Pro­tect­ing DACA is not only the right thing to do, but it is the smart thing to do for the eco­nom­ic advance­ment of the state and the coun­try. Keep­ing DACA will keep thou­sands of Ten­nessee K-12 stu­dents in schools. We must con­tin­ue invest­ing in all our stu­dents and their futures to ensure that we remain the fastest improv­ing state in the nation in edu­ca­tion.

From Mem­phis to Mor­ris­town, and in all cor­ners of our state, our Coali­tion mem­bers are com­mit­ted to part­ner­ing in efforts to advance the achieve­ment for all stu­dents in Ten­nessee. We urge you to do every­thing in your pow­er to pro­tect the more than 8,000 DACA recip­i­ents in our state. We look for­ward to see­ing your lead­er­ship in defend­ing the future of young Ten­nesseans, and the future of Ten­nessee.

Respect­ful­ly,

The Ten­nessee Edu­ca­tion­al Equi­ty Coali­tion