SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano Wednesday called on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation on a program that would protect undocumented young immigrants and students, UC said in a press release.
Nepolitano, who was joined by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, has written to House and Senate leaders to pass bipartisan legislation to protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or better known as Dreamers, before the end of the year.
DACA, established by former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2012 and revoked by President Donald Trump in September 2017, was an immigration policy that allowed some individuals who entered the U.S. as minors, mostly illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit.
"If Congress is unable to reach a legislative solution, nearly 800,000 Dreamers will be at risk of deportation starting early next year," Napolitano said in the letter.
About 22,000 Dreamers who did not renew their status are already losing their work authorization and protection from deportation, she said.
She expressed concern that about 900 Dreamers either currently serving in the U.S. armed forces or waiting to start boot camp could be deported.
Deporting Dreamers would cost the U.S. government a minimum of 7.5 billion U.S. dollars and would divert government resources from countering serious national security threats currently facing the nation, she said.
"Rather than diverting resources to deport Dreamers, the U.S. government should be focused on combatting the very real threats we face," Napolitano said, adding that "finite resources should be prioritized to secure the U.S. border, deport violent criminals, prevent violent crime, and prevent terrorist attacks and cyberattacks."
The UC president urged Congress to include the Dream Act of 2017 in the Congressional spending bill that must be passed by Dec. 8. and approve the bipartisan legislation as soon as possible.