April 27, 2020

Warren Joins Bennet, Menendez, Colleagues to Call on DeVos to Reverse Course and Allow DACA Students to Access Emergency Financial Aid Secured in CARES Act

Text of Letter (PDF)


Washington, DCToday, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined  Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), along with a group of 25 colleagues, in calling on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students to access emergency financial aid grant funding secured in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  


“DACA recipients came to this country as children and make extraordinary contributions to our communities and our economy,” the senators wrote to Secretary DeVos. “During this Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, DACA recipients attending institutions of higher education across the country face challenges like other students, many with the added burden of supporting their parents and siblings or being the first in their families to attend college. These students should not be excluded from critical aid. Indeed, those who are especially vulnerable to economic hardship are exactly whom these funds were designed to help.” 


DeVos recently announced that the U.S. Department of Education will restrict eligibility for emergency financial aid based on a student’s citizenship status. In their letter, the senators explained that higher education grant funding is meant for college students experiencing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, including DACA recipients.   


In addition to Senators Warren, Bennet, and Menendez, the letter was signed by U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), and Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.). 


Senator Warren has been a champion for immigrants, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


  • Senator Warren has cosponsored the Federal Immigrant Release for Safety and Security Together (FIRST) Act  to move immigrants out of detention and halt immigration enforcement against individuals not deemed a significant public safety risk during the pandemic. 

  • She has also cosponsored the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act, which would help ensure that all communities are able to access COVID-19 testing, treatment, and other relief services provided in coronavirus relief legislation.

  • She has pushed for an inclusive COVID-19 relief package that ensures that urgently-needed COVID-19 testing and medical care and relief benefits are accessible to all communities, regardless of limited English proficiency or immigration status.

  • In early March, she led a letter urging the Trump Administration to suspend all immigration enforcement actions in and around hospitals and other medical facilities. 

  • On March 11, she sent a letter with Senator Markey raising concerns about the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) handling of COVID-19 prevention efforts in the immigration courts. Senator Warren later urged DOJ to close all immigration courts to prevent the spread of the virus. 

  • She joined her colleagues in a letter to the DHS, ICE, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pushing for the release of vulnerable and low-risk detained persons from DHS custody as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise. She and her colleagues previously wrote to DHS, ICE, and CBP asking about their plans to prepare for the possible spread of COVID-19 within DHS facilities. 

  • She joined Senator Durbin in urging President Trump to automatically extend work authorizations for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status during the pandemic. 

  • Senator Warren joined colleagues in writing to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding the suspension of in-person citizenship processing, and urging USCIS to allow eligible immigrants complete the naturalization process via technological solutions.

  • She has also introduced the Prioritizing Pandemic Prevention Act (S. 3510), legislation to defund the border wall and direct those funds to combating COVID-19, and joined colleagues in calling for a halt to border wall construction during the pandemic.