HECA advocacy

HECA Government Relations: Engaging in Democracy

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 at 1:00 PM EDT

Get to know your HGRC, what we do and learn how to be part of the democratic process. We will discuss the basics of registering to vote and ways to do it safely in a pandemic. How to encourage your clients to be involved, why it is important and resources. Register HERE.

July 30, 2020

Given HECA’s mission to work towards equity and access to higher education, the HECA Government Relations and Advocacy committee (GRAC) calls your attention to the impact of the census on public school funding.

In 1982, the US Supreme Court ruled in Plyler v Doe that public schools must educate all students, regardless of immigration status. It said, "education has a fundamental role in maintaining the fabric of our society" and "provides the basic tools by which individuals might lead economically productive lives to the benefit of us all." In addition, the children of undocumented immigrants "can affect neither their parents' conduct nor their own status," and "directing the onus of a parent's misconduct against his children does not comport with fundamental conceptions of justice."

Census data is used to allocate federal funding to schools and many other community organizations. Recently, the Trump administration issued a memorandum that prohibits the US Census Bureau from counting undocumented individuals during this year’s census.

In actual fact, there is no citizen question on this year’s census. It was blocked by the Supreme Court last July. Accurate census data is vital to ensure communities and schools receive the funding they need to educate our students. Your Equity and Access committee encourages you to complete the census and urge the families you work with to do the same. In fact, it’s the law!

July 10, 2020

HECA strongly opposes the announcement this week by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 international students must return to their home country or face deportation if their educational institution offers only online classes during the fall semester. ICE similarly announced that international students not already in the US would not receive student visas if their institution plans to provide online-only instruction this fall. This applies to students enrolled at elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions.

HECA has members in 14 countries. Forty percent of our members work in some way with international students. HGRC believes this announcement is a continuation of policies that suggest hostility toward international students and risks further damaging the economic and cultural well-being of our nation’s schools and colleges. Historically, the US has a reputation for having the best universities in the world and has traditionally welcomed students from around the globe. We risk damaging our reputation for providing the highest quality education and for being a welcoming, generous nation - and these excellent international students will certainly go elsewhere.

The US hosts over one million international students annually that contribute 41 billion dollars to the US economy and supports 458,290 jobs. (Source: NAFSA’s economic analysis for 2018-19 academic year: US Department of Education, US Department of Commerce and the Open Doors report.) To learn more how individual states will be affected economically see here.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, schools and universities have struggled with how and when to resume classes and other campus-based activities in a safe manner. Many have decided that online instruction is the best way to keep students, teachers, administrators, and communities safe. ICE’s decision to send students home exacerbates an already difficult situation as colleges face significant enrollment declines, including international students. For those that have not confirmed in-person classes this fall, the ICE announcement may force institutions to make the difficult decision to reopen when that course of action might not be in the best interest of public health.

If you have further questions, contact the Government Relations Committee, hgrc@hecaonline.org. You can also write to your state and US legislators or ICE explaining why you oppose this action.

June 8, 2020

The last week of events continues to highlight the systemic racism and injustices in our country. We are struggling to process our outrage, fear, and frustration with the senseless death of George Floyd, another unarmed black man killed by police in Minneapolis, just weeks after the horrific killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery made national headlines, and the same day that Amy Cooper falsely accused Christian Cooper of attacking her in Central Park.

HECA unequivocally condemns these murders and racists actions and we stand in solidarity with those who are peacefully protesting, processing, and in shock from the events of this week. We also acknowledge the disproportionate impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on communities of color. To achieve the HECA mission of “equity and access to higher education for all students,” we must acknowledge the racist structures of our country and become aware of how we participate in them. Each one of us has an obligation to help create an equitable and just society.

We know that this issue is larger than us, but HECA is demonstrating solidarity with this movement by first looking within and examining how we can use our time, resources, and social power to actively fight against the injustices we see and to support those who are adversely affected by them.

In this moment, we are committing ourselves to doing better, beginning with the following immediate steps:

I Am Not Your Negro The Hate You Give
Just MercyWhen They See Us
American SonWe Are The Giant
Dear White People13th

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