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Educators Call for Trump to Halt an End to DACA Program

Educators and immigrant advocacy groups are preparing for President Trump to announce the end of a program initiated under the Obama administration that has protected children from deportation who were brought into the U.S. illegally. Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, the policy currently protects about 750,000 immigrants who entered the U.S. as children.

It’s expected Trump will let the immigrants or “dreamers” remain in the U.S. until their work permits end, though the likelihood of deportation to follow has been met with an outcry by many educators. School districts and groups around the country have launched campaigns to keep it in place, arguing that its removal would have a severe impact on the lives of those at risk of deportation.

“The DACA program has helped bring wonderfully talented and critically needed teachers to our classrooms and has provided peace of mind and legal status to thousands of immigrant children and families who make our city and our schools great,” Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg told The Denver Post. The district was the first in the nation to hire teachers under DACA and Boasberg said their deportation would be “catastrophic” for the school district. His efforts to keep the program in place are supported by 85 Denver principals who signed a guest editorial for the newspaper defending the program.

The Trump administration also has pushback from more than 1,300 Catholic educators who signed a “moral mandate” defending those it protects. Catholic educators have been vocal supporters of DACA, arguing that Catholic teaching "clearly and strongly" supports an immigration policy that will "uphold the dignity of immigrants and their families."

While there has been a strong wave of support for the president to leave the program in place, his base is pushing for him to make good on one of his most heavily touted campaign promises. Led by Texas, ten state attorneys general have threatened to sue the government if he doesn’t put an end the program. The deadline comes at an inopportune time for the president who is amid hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and a potential security threat from North Korea. A deadline delay would allow for more negotiation time between the president and Capitol Hill lawmakers.

In August, Trump put an end to the Central American Minors Parole or CAM program. Started in 2014, the program was put in place as a response to children fleeing gang violence in Central American countries. As long as they had a parent legally living in the U.S., they were given a two-year reprieve from deportation to prepare their amnesty cases. With the end of the program, nearly 3,000 children between the ages of 11 and 17 are at risk of being deported.

As of last Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said DACA was still “under review,” adding “[t]here are a lot of components that need to be looked at.”

 

Article by Joel Stice, Education World Contributor

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