January 24, 2017

E4E teachers write open letter to Trump on DACA

Dear President Trump and members of the One Hundred-Fifteenth United States Congress,

As educators and supporters, we care deeply about the safety of all students. We want them to feel safe and welcomed in our classrooms and in our country. As a result, we are greatly concerned about the status of our undocumented students and families. We urge you to join us in taking action and consider the recommendations outlined in this letter.

In our schools and classrooms, we strive every day to create climates that welcome students, make them feel safe, and make it possible for them to fully engage in their learning. As such, we cannot stand idle when we see threats to the safety and security of our students.

Since 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provided protection and opportunity for more than 700,000 young people who have called the United States home for nearly their entire lives. Those who qualified for DACA had to prove they came to the United States before age 16, have lived here for at least five years continuously, have attended school or graduated from high school or college, and also have had no criminal convictions.

Over the past four years, we were encouraged to see our students who have received DACA status continue on to higher education and work without fear of immediate deportation, fulfilling the dream that brought them to this country.

Revoking DACA threatens this promise for our students, and it threatens the security of our colleagues who have DACA status. Furthermore, ending DACA would have a significant impact on the wider economy. An analysis from the Cato Institute calculated that ending DACA would cost $283 billion over a decade in deportation costs and lost wages.

Without DACA, many our students and colleagues fear the risk of deportation, seeing their families torn apart, and ending the pursuit of their dreams. This fear is toxic to the greater school climate and directly affects our day-to-day work as teachers.

We, as educators and supporters, commit to:

  • Making sure that all students are welcomed and included in our classrooms, regardless of immigration status;
  • Protecting information about the immigration status of students and their families;
  • Supporting our students, our colleagues, and their families by advocating to maintain DACA and finding a more permanent solution.

We call on you to:

  • Renew and maintain DACA status for eligible immigrants;
  • Pass the BRIDGE Act, or another comprehensive solution that protects undocumented young people;
  • Introduce new pathways for immigrants with DACA status to become citizens.

Our children are our greatest strength – we intend to stand alongside our students against any efforts to revoke DACA. Revoking or not renewing DACA does nothing to fix broader questions of immigration reform, and we encourage you to consider alternative options to ensure that the promise of our young people with DACA status is protected.

Sincerely,

The 2017 E4E Teacher Action Team on DACA and the undersigned members of the Teacher Action Team on DACA:

Jessica Cuellar, Nueva Esperanza Charter Academy, Los Angeles, CA
Arthur Everett, High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology, Brooklyn, NY
Mark Gozonsky, Ramon C Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Carmen Marerro, The Angelo Patri Middle School, New York, NY
Irma Marquez Trapero, Hiawatha Academies, Minneapolis, MN
Alisa Mirkin, Henry Elementary School, Chicago, IL
Kisha Martin, The Vida Bogart School for All Children, Bronx, NY
Rachel Sawdy, The Young Women’s Leadership School of Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
Naomi Zuckerman, Umana Academy, Boston, MA

If you agree with this letter and want to help protect our students, add your signature!