Former White House Cabinet Members, Governors Form Group to Lobby in Favor of Dream Act

Protesters shout during a demonstration in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Protesters shout during a demonstration in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals / Getty Images
October 20, 2017

Former White House cabinet members, state governors, and university presidents are among the founding members of a group formed this week by Steve Jobs' widow to lobby in favor of the Dream Act.

Former secretary of defense Leon Panetta, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, Harvard University President Drew Faust, and Georgetown's John DeGioia have all joined the "Dream Coalition."

"We will use our leadership role to bring greater attention to the urgent situation confronting Dreamers, and we will call on Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or similar legislation that ensures Dreamers can earn the right to live, work, learn, and serve in America and become citizens," according to the group's mission statement. "This is not a partisan or political issue. It is in our social, economic, security, and moral interests to enable Dreamers to earn their full place in America. We will do everything we can to ensure that legislation authorizing them to do so passes this year."

The Dream Act, co-sponsored by five Republican and five Democratic senators, would protect those covered by Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that Trump plans to phase out by March 2018.

The coalition is a project of the Emerson Collective, Laurene Powell Jobs' organization that focuses on promoting social justice causes, specifically those related to education and immigration reform.

The mayors of sanctuary cities currently facing threats from Attorney General Jeff Sessions of losing federal funding due to their stance on immigration are among the group's members, including Chicago's Rahm Emanuel and New York's Bill de Blasio. The mayors' offices did not respond to questions about what their involvement in the coalition entails.

A Georgetown University spokesperson explained that DeGioia promoted the coalition's objectives during the school's "Dreamers & Higher Education" week that began Sunday. As part of those efforts, DeGioia co-authored with three other D.C.-area college presidents an op-ed in the Hill urging Congress to pass the Dream Act, and hosted a forum on campus to discuss the future of DACA.

Harvard's Faust—who will step down from her post in June 2018, and who some students say needs to be replaced with a president who embraces the concept of a "safe space"—has spoken repeatedly about her support for the Dreamers, denouncing Trump's DACA decision as "cruel."

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Univision CEO Randy Falco are also on board with the coalition, according to reports.