University of California President Janet Napolitano today (Nov. 15) joined fellow national security leaders in calling on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation protecting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients before the end of the year.

In a letter delivered yesterday to House and Senate leaders, Napolitano and fellow signers — including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Director of National Intelligence Lt. Gen. James Clapper and others — demand that Congress provide a permanent solution for Dreamers by including the Dream Act of 2017 in the spending bill that must pass by Dec. 8.

“If Congress is unable to reach a legislative solution, nearly 800,000 Dreamers will be at risk of deportation starting early next year,” the letter states.

The letter also expresses concern that nearly 900 Dreamers either currently serving in the U.S. armed forces or waiting to start boot camp could be deported. The letter notes that “each of these individuals provides highly sought after language or medical skills and, more importantly, has a strong desire to serve our nation.”

The letter says that deporting Dreamers would cost the U.S. government a minimum of $7.5 billion and would divert government resources from countering serious national security threats currently facing the nation.

“Rather than diverting resources to deport Dreamers, the U.S. government should be focused on combatting the very real threats we face,” the letter states. “Finite resources should be prioritized to secure the U.S. border, deport violent criminals, prevent violent crime, and prevent terrorist attacks and cyberattacks.”

Read the full text of the letter here.