Time is running out for Congress to do something about DACA protections for undocumented immigrants. If they fail to act on a long-term fix for a program begun by former President Barack Obama, the status of nearly 800,000 young people across America would be thrown into limbo.
What Does This Mean for Education?
If DACA, which is short for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is allowed to expire in March, as President Donald Trump has vowed, those 800,000 people—many of whom are current students or recent graduates—would be subject to deportation even though they were brought to the United States as children.
Included in that 800,000 number are an estimated 20,000 DACA-eligible teachers, according to USA Today.
Students and Teachers Have Spoken Up
Students and teachers have been speaking out on the importance of DACA’s protections.
“DACA opened so many doors that otherwise would have been shut and locked away from us,” said student Jaqueline Romo.
“My whole life I lived with the conversation of, ‘What’s going to happen if your dad or I get deported?’” Texas valedictorian Mayte Lara Ibarra said.
“Young people will be forced to return to a country they may not even remember or know,” said Oakland student Edrees Saied.
Illinois teacher Pat Marshall said she’s struggled to answer her students’ questions about what will happen to their friends who are undocumented. “What happens to my friend if her parents are deported? She’s been here since she was 4,” one of Marshall’s students recently asked her.
Pennsylvania State Teacher of the Year Michael Soskil wrote about his DACA-eligible colleague. “With the DACA program in jeopardy, so is the place of the New Mexico Teacher of the Year as a role model and leader in our country,” Soskil wrote.
Teacher Jessica Cuellar perhaps put it best when she wrote, “We know undocumented people do not pose a threat to our communities—they are our communities.”