March 21, 2017

Educators for Excellence Calls on President Trump and Congress to Protect Undocumented Students and Families

In letter, teachers call on President to uphold DACA and ask Congress to pass the BRIDGE Act, citing impact on students, school climate and economy

Teachers also pledge to protect information on undocumented students and colleagues

March 21, 2017 (New York) — Educators for Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led organization, sent a letter today to President Donald J. Trump, calling on him to guarantee the rights and opportunities provided to undocumented students and families under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The letter, which had over 1,200 educator signatures, also asks Congress to pass the BRIDGE Act, a proposed bill to permit DACA recipients to continue living and attending school in the United States with permission from the federal government.

The letter was written by members of the E4E Teacher Action Team on DACA, which includes nine current teachers from districts across the country. It highlights the benefits of DACA, which these educators have observed through their work in the classroom with undocumented students, as well as with their undocumented colleagues. In their letter, the teachers also emphasized that the threat that President Trump may revoke DACA has created widespread fear, which is both “toxic to the greater school climate and directly affects our day-to-day work as teachers.”

“What makes our country great is not what divides us, but what unites us. Equitable access to educational opportunity is one of the values upon which our country was founded. If this is something that we aim to uphold in our nation, President Trump and Congress must introduce and encourage pathways for ‘DACAmented’ youth and immigrants, including by protecting DACA and passing the BRIDGE Act. Our children are the future, and our nation's greatest strength,” said Rachel Sawdy, a teacher at The Young Women's Leadership School of Brooklyn, NY, and a member of E4E-New York and the E4E Teacher Action Team on DACA.

“Educators across our country strive every day to make our students feel safe, which is essential to them being able to focus on their learning. Unfortunately, for our students – as well as our fellow teachers – who are undocumented, the uncertain future of DACA has directly threatened their security,” said Sydney Morris, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of E4E. “We stand with them against any efforts to revoke DACA, and we urge President Trump and Congress to ensure that they remain protected.”

“To our members, the status of our undocumented students and teachers is not only a concern for our schools, but also a problem for our communities. Jeopardizing the futures of DACA recipients will only divide our nation further, while costing Americans billions,” said Evan Stone, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of E4E. “We will remain united in defense of all undocumented families and the future of our nation.”

Revoking DACA would not only jeopardize the safety of students and educators with DACA status, but also 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.

In today’s letter, E4E members committed 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; and
  • Supporting our students, our colleagues, and their families by advocating to maintain DACA and finding a more permanent solution.

In addition, they called on President Trump to:

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