Dear Senators Brown, Hegeman, Cunningham, Curls, Nasheed, and Representatives Fitzpatrick, Alferman, Rowland, Kendrick, and McGee,

Higher education should be accessible to all of us regardless of sex, religion, race, or immigration status because educational opportunities for all Missourians creates a stronger Missouri. 

Our organizations, businesses, advocacy groups, and educational institutions urge you to reconsider language in budget bill HB 2003 that would bar low-income immigrant youth from access to higher education.

As introduced, this bill targets the most vulnerable people in our community. It undermines efforts to make Missouri inclusive, welcoming and open to business. Instead, it paints our state as anti-immigrant and discriminatory.

In Missouri, 3,524 of our neighbors used their DACA status to give back to our country. They are our doctors, soldiers, educators, day laborers, students, neighbors, family, and friends.

Individuals who have received DACA contribute to Missouri’s economy. Many of these Missourians have lived in this state since they were children, graduating from local high schools. They work, they pay taxes, and they give back to their communities.

Pushing DACA recipients out of Missouri by pricing them out of higher education could cost Missouri roughly 200 million annually.

Missouri cannot afford to drive talented students away and it should not mire our educational institutions in the convoluted world of immigration law. 

It is within our power to create opportunity and foster growth. That starts with budgeting for success.

We urge you to strike sections 3.300 and 3.305 of HB 2003 and ensure that Missouri allows talented, hardworking students to thrive.

Together, we can prosper. 

Sincerely,

Kansas/ Missouri Dream Alliance

Sara Baker
Legislative and Policy Director
ACLU of Missouri

Sara John
Executive Director
St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America

Judith R. Gonzalez
Director of Community Engagement
Hand in Hand Multicultural Center, Springfield

Alice Chamberlain
Lead Organizer
Missouri Faith Voices

Rev. Dottie Mathews
Faith Voices of Columbia Volunteer

Marie-Aimée Abizera
Executive Director
Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates

Amy Diemer
Managing Attorney
St. Francis Community Services

Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry

Meredith L. Rataj
Site Director
St. Francis Community Services Southside Center

Sister Joan Kuester
Executive Director of Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis

Jeanette Mott Oxford
Executive Director
Empower Missouri

Caroline Fan
Immediate Past President
OCA St. Louis

Lineth Posada
HS Spanish Teacher
Guadalupe Centers School District

Cris Medina
Board President
Guadalupe Centers

Jan Roddy
Immigrant Justice Committee
Christ Church United Church of Christ

Emily Kuttenkuler
Mission & Outreach Ministry Team
Kirkwood United Church of Christ

Judy Ancel
President
The Cross-Border Network

Jude A. Huntz
Pastoral Associate
Visitation Catholic Church

Jacqui Ojeda
Event Coordinator
Agape Hoops

Gabino Zavala
Justice and Peace Director Missionaries of the Precious Blood -- Kansas City

Sr. Joan Hornick, ASC

Deacon Robert J Lanter
Director of Deacons
Diocese of Belleville

Myrt Rollins
St Rose Church Adult Formation Coordinator

Sr. Rosemary Russell
Chairperson, Immigrant and Refugee Committee
Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, O'Fallon, MO

Native American Student Association
Missouri Southern State University

Multicultural Counseling and Research Center

Amy Hansen-Malek, Lead Organizer
Showing Up for Racial Justice

School Sister of Notre Dame, STL

Sisters of St. Francis

Michelle Bushart, Attorney
Micki Bushart Law LLC 

Rhiannon Dickerson
Professor, Communication Department
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Karen Craigo
Missouri State University & Ozarks Technical Community College

Alejandra Perez, Academic Advisor
Metropolitan Community College

Diana Martinez
Community Organizer
Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation

Jeannie Irons, Instructor
UMKC

Felicia Medellin
Regional Director Midwest
College Advising Corps

First Unitarian Church St Louis Toward Justice Group

Chad Montuori
Faculty Mentor Program Coordinator
Metropolitan Community College, Maple Woods

Individual signatories:

Bronwen Voss, Judith Campbell, Guillermo Rosas, Lizanne Young, Columbia IL, Edith Cooper, Shanna Cass, Yuima Mizutani, M.Ed., NCC, LPC, Alan Wurth, Sheerie Green , Beverly Simmerman, Nidelvia Peraza, Joanna Mendez, Natalie Moultrie

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