September, 2017

President Trump Repeals DACA and Punts to Congress

Report on Federal Legislation

Earlier this month, President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, phasing out protections from deportation proceedings for hundreds of thousands undocumented Americans over the next six months. This article will explore the impact of DACA on California and talk about potential DACA fixes that have been proposed in Congress.

DACA and California

It is estimated that slightly more than 500,000 undocumented Californians were eligible to qualify for protections under DACA. In order to qualify, a person must have:

  • Not committed a felony or a serious misdemeanor.
  • Have been brought into the country under the age of 16.
  • Lived continuously in the United States since 2007.
  • In school at the time of application.
  • Graduated from high school or honorably discharged by the armed forces of the United States.

It is difficult to estimate the number of students with protections through DACA who are attending a California community college. While an estimated 240,000 Californians have received DACA protection, the data is not disaggregated by system or institution. Roughly 60,000 undocumented community college students receive in-state tuition via AB 540, however it is important to note that many undocumented students qualify for in-state tuition but did not meet the eligibility requirements for DACA. Experts estimate that roughly half of AB 540 students have applied for and receive protections under DACA, putting the number of students at around 30,000.

What is not difficult, however, is quantifying the benefits to both the recipients and our country of temporarily providing protection from deportation to this population. DACA recipients were brought into this country at the average age of six, have spent almost two decades living here and are working to obtain a college degree. Studies have shown that DACA is responsible for a fourfold increase in the wages of recipients and that our nation’s economy would shrink by $200 billion in reduced wages and foregone tax revenue over the next 10 years if the program is eliminated. Protection enabled by DACA has helped provide this population with some certainty that they will continue to live and work in this country and contribute to our economy.

Congressional Initiatives to Replace DACA

While President Trump has asked for Congress to fix the problems caused by the cancellation of DACA, he has not provided any details that he would want to see in legislation. Independent of President Trump’s actions a number of bills have been introduced that would codify various elements of DACA into law. While exact details of the proposals are different, they all provide protection from deportation for those who were brought to the United States as children and typically a path to permanent residency and citizenship. With little policy guidance provided by President Trump, it is likely that either one of these bills or items contained within them could potentially become part of a DACA “fix.”

2017 Dream Act (S. 1615 and H.R. 3440):

  • Provides protection from deportation proceedings if a person has entered the United States under the age of 18 and has been living in the country since 2012.
  • Provides path to legal permanent residency after five years and citizenship in 10 years.
  • Less restrictive requirements than the Recognizing America’s Children Act to meet to become either a legal permanent resident or citizen.
  • Some bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House.

BRIDGE Act (H.R. 496)

  • Provides protection from deportation proceedings if a person has entered the United States under the age of 16 and has been living in the country since 2007.
  • No path to citizenship or legal permanent residency.
  • A person who qualifies must reapply for protection from deportation proceedings every two years.
  • Most similar proposal to DACA.
  • Some bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House.

Recognizing America’s Children Act (H.R. 1468):

  • Provides protection from deportation proceedings if a person has entered the United States under the age of 16 has been living in the country since 2012.
  • Provides a path to legal permanent residency after five years and citizenship in 10 years.
  • More restrictive requirements than the Dream Act to meet to become either a legal permanent resident or citizen.
  • Some support by House Republicans.

Hope Act (H.R. 3591):

  • Provides protection against deportation proceedings if a person entered the country under the age of 18 prior to 2016.
  • No requirements to be working; however a person must be enrolled in an education institution or in the military.
  • Provides path legal permanent residency after three years and citizenship in five years.
  • Strongly supported by House Democrats.

DACA and Your Institution

As the largest provider of higher education programs to undocumented students in the country, California’s community colleges are at the frontlines of the ramifications of the repeal of DACA. It is important that your campus communicates 1) To your undocumented students that they are still welcome on campus and qualify for in state tuition and state financial aid and 2) To your elected representatives on how the decision has impacted your students.

By giving Congress six months to forge a replacement for DACA, President Trump has fast tracked a process that earlier this month looked to take years. Therefore, if your institution believes that protections contained within DACA increased the educational opportunities for your students, it is imperative that you communicate this to your congressional representatives and California’s senators. In order to do that, the League has compiled the following documents to help you in your advocacy related to DACA:

  1. A draft resolution for your institution to pass and transmit to your congressional representatives in support of DACA. If you pass this resolution or something similar to it, please send a copy to the League at ryan@ccleague.org.
  2. A draft letter your institution can send to your congressional representation in support of DACA.

In the next couple of weeks, the League will be putting together a joint advocacy plan with the students, faculty and the Chancellor’s Office. If you or your campus are interested in getting involved or have any questions related to the repeal of DACA, please don’t hesitate to call Ryan McElhinney at (916) 444-8641 or e-mail him at ryan@ccleague.org.

The Chancellor’s Office has provided an excellent resource that has a number of documents related to the repeal of DACA and your students. It has the guidance they issued earlier this month, items regarding financial aid and AB 540 students, statements from the Chancellor and other resources. The resource page can be found by clicking here.

Legislators Close Out 2017 Legislative Year

Today, the California Legislature closes out the 2017 legislative session. After September 15th, all bills passed out of the legislature have one month for Governor Brown to sign or veto. Below are updates on bills that have a significant impact on community colleges, for a full list please click here.

AB 19 (Santiago) Enrollment Fee Waiver

Would allow community college districts to waive the enrollment fee for one academic year for firsttime students who enroll in 12 units per term and submit either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a California Dream Act application, if the college meets specified requirements consistent with the requirements of the California Promise Innovation Grant Program. The bill has an anticipated cost of around $30 million per year.

Update: Took amendments in the Senate Appropriations Committee making the provisions of the bill contingent on an appropriation by the state legislature.
Status: Senate Floor
Position: Watch

AB 21 (Kalra) Public Postsecondary Education: Student Access

Requires colleges to implement the following actions in order to better protect students vulnerable to being deported by immigration officials:

  • Refrain from releasing student records to immigration authorities without a valid subpoena or warrant.
  • Requires staff and faculty to report to the institution if they believe immigration authorities are about to take deportation action to the college.
  • Provide staff available to assist students facing a deportation order.

Update: Took amendments in the Senate Appropriations Committee delaying the implementation of the bill to July 1, 2019.
Status: Senate Floor
Position: Watch

AB 204 (Medina) Community colleges: Student Success and Support Program funding.

Would require the Board of Governors (BOG) to review for consistency any due process standards adopted to appeal the loss of a BOG fee waiver. It would also require each community college district to, at least once every three years, examine the impact of the minimum academic and progress standards and determine whether those standards have had a disproportionate impact on a specific class of students.
Status: Held in the Senate Appropriations Committee and thus dead for this year
Position: Support

AB 705 (Irwin) Matriculation: Assessment

The bill would require California Community Colleges to use high school performance data when determining a student’s readiness for college-level English and math. It also prohibits community colleges from requiring students to enroll in remedial coursework unless research proves that the students are highly unlikely to succeed in college-level coursework.
Status: Senate Floor
Position: Support

AB 1651 (Reyes) Academic Employees: Paid Administrative Leave

AB 1651 would require colleges to provide a copy of the written complaint to alleged perpetrators two days prior to their placement on paid administrative leave. Employees are placed on administrative leave due to serious allegations such as sexual misconduct, significant misallocation of resources, fraud and embezzlement, or other charges. Potential impacts of AB 1651 (Reyes) include the inability to guarantee or protect confidentiality of alleged victims, a requirement to provide proof that withholding the complaint is justified under AB 1651 and compromising the fact-finding process before a formal investigation has begun.

The League believes this will result in a chilling effect on college students reporting sexual assault and harassment incidents. The bill establishes a dangerous precedent and jeopardizes student safety, confidentiality and will likely increase liability on community colleges.

Update: The author took League supported amendments that create a statewide policy requiring colleges to provide the general nature of the allegations leading to an employee being placed on administrative leave to that employee. Thus the League was able drop its opposition. Additionally, it states that all investigations into employee misconduct conclude within 90 days and requests the Chancellor’s Office to form a working group to determine if the 90-day limit is an appropriate length of time needed to conduct a fair and thorough investigation.
Status: Senate Floor
Position: Neutral

SB 169 (Jackson) Education: Sex Equity.

SB 169 would require the governing board of each community college district and other segments of higher education in California to implement policies and procedures on sexual harassment. SB 169 also seeks to conform with some of the guidelines in the “Dear Colleague” letter issued by the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on April 4, 2011 relating to sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Update: Took clarifying amendments regarding the role of K-12 districts and higher education institutions.
Status: Assembly Floor
Position: Working with author on final amendments.

SB 769 (Hill) Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program

SB 769 would extend the sunset on the current California Community College Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program, from 2023 to 2028.
Status: Held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is thus dead for this year.
Position: Support

Select Committee on Updated the Master Plan for Higher Education

On August 30th the State Legislature held a hearing on updating the Master Plan for Higher Education, which is credited with the creation of California’s world-class higher education system. Due to the plan’s age there was near universal agreement in that it needed updating, but no consensus on how to do it or what parts.

The plan was created in an era when California’s population was fast growing, a small minority of jobs needed a baccalaureate degree and focused on keeping fees low for all students. Additionally, it was pointed out throughout the hearing that the state has continued to disinvest in higher education, leading to significant increases in tuition and an eroding of the ability of California’s higher education demands.

Therefore, leaders from the University of California, California State University, California’s Community Colleges and the Non-Profit Accredited Universities all urged legislators either consider updating the master plan to reflect today’s economic realities or fully fund each system of higher education so they can fully meet the goals laid out for them in the master plan.

While there was no consensus on how and when the master plan should be updated, the chair of the select committee Assemblymember Marc Berman, made it clear that the state legislature’s effort at considering to update the master plan was going to be a multi year effort. He is planning on holding several more hearings, each focused on a specific issue such as financial aid.

During the hearing the Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report on the history of the master plan. While it did not endorse any specific proposals, it placed the current efforts to update the plan. The report can be found by clicking here.

Federal Grant Opportunities

The League in partnership with Downs Government Affairs present the following federal grant opportunities for districts and colleges:

Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science
Agency: National Science Foundation
Estimated Total Program Funding: $5,800,000
Closing Date for Applications: October 10, 2017

Program Description: NSF’s Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science program supports collaborative partnerships between K-12 STEM in-service and pre-service teachers, full-time community college faculty, and university faculty and students to enhance the scientific disciplinary knowledge and capacity of the STEM teachers and/or community college faculty through participation in authentic summer research experiences with engineering and computer science faculty researchers. RET projects revolve around a focused research area related to engineering and/or computer science that will provide a common cohort experience to the participating educators. The K-12 STEM teachers and/or full-time community college faculty also translate their research experiences and new scientific knowledge into their classroom activities and curricula. Partnerships with inner city, rural or other high-need schools are encouraged, as is participation by underrepresented minorities, women, veterans, and persons with disabilities. As part of RET partnership arrangements, university undergraduate/graduate students will partner with pre-college/community college faculty in their classrooms during the academic year to support the integration of the RET curricular materials into classroom activities.
Link to grants.gov: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=295306

Advancing Informal STEM Learning
Agency: National Science Foundation
Estimated Total Program Funding: $44,000,000
Maximum Grant Award: $3,000,000
Closing Date for Applications: November 6, 2017

Program Description: NSF’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and engage the public of all ages in learning STEM in informal environments. AISL supports six types of projects: (1) Pilots and Feasibility Studies; (2) Research in Service to Practice; (3) Innovations in Development; (4) Broad Implementation; (5) Literature Reviews, Syntheses, or Meta-Analyses; and (6) Conferences.
Link to grants.gov: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=295308