Home > Uncategorized > The End of DACA Is the End of Dreams for 800,000… and Schools Across America Feel the Ripple

The End of DACA Is the End of Dreams for 800,000… and Schools Across America Feel the Ripple

In one of the most horrific decisions made by President Trump, 800,000 technically “illegal immigrants” are scheduled to be deported because their parents brought them to our country as economic or political refugees. In and article in today’s NYTimes, writer Liz Robbins describes the impact that decision will have on roughly 30,000 New York City residents, some of whom are gainfully employed classroom teachers in the city. Her opening paragraphs frame the issue effectively:

Jaime Ballesteros tried to contain his tears on Tuesday while teaching Brooklyn sixth graders about liquids, gases and solids. In between science classes at a charter school in East New York, he broke down at his desk.

The government had just canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which had granted temporary protection from deportation to immigrants brought to the country at a young age. Under DACA, as the program is known, they attended college and obtained work permits, and many went back into the profession that inspired them in the first place.

President Obama waited patiently for Congress to enact legislation that would provide permanent protection for immigrants brought to the country by their parents to no avail. When Congress failed act, he issued an executive order granting them immunity from deportation, an act that xenophobic voters viewed as undercutting their economic opportunities and an action that candidate Donald Trump promised to overturn. During the Presidential campaign, DACA was one of many clear differences between the two candidates… but it is a difference that might NOT exist between the two political parties. While none of the GOP presidential candidates supported President Obama’s Executive order creating the DACA program, and the GOP platform opposed it, 76% of Americans (and more importantly 69% of GOP voters) support the principles behind DACA. Even more importantly from a political standpoint, the US Chamber of Commerce and many CEOs are opposed to President Trump’s action.

These two paragraphs explain why that is the case from the standpoint of public schools in NYC:

In explaining the administration’s cancellation of DACA, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that recipients were taking jobs from American-born candidates. But Betty A. Rosa, the chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, said in an interview that DACA teachers were not only qualified, but necessary to fill a statewide shortage of teachers for English language learners, special education, math and science.

“There’s a need, obviously, to have a high-quality teacher in front of them,” she said, but she added that teachers with DACA provided diversity that could help other marginalized students feel welcome. “It’s a way to expand the conversations we’ve been having about the idea of integration and equity and having representation.”

As an unabashed liberal who supports the welcoming and inclusive message on the Statue of Liberty, I sincerely hope that Mr. Trump has overplayed his hand and, in so doing, might tap into the reservoir of altruism that still exists in the hearts of the majority of Americans. I will be saddened if our country decides to expel 800,000 law abiding young immigrants who aspire to citizenship in our country. Their parents came here seeking economic opportunity or political asylum. How can we turn them away now that they are willing and able to help our country move forward? Shame on us if we do.

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