Welcome to Essential Education, our daily look at education in California and beyond. Here's the latest:
As hundreds of thousands of young immigrants protected under an Obama-era program anxiously await President Trump’s decision on whether to end it — which some reports say could come as early as Friday — schools and universities across California have launched rapid response teams, stepped up legal support, issued messages of solidarity and called on Trump to allow students who are in the country without legal status to continue their educations without fear of deportation.
At the Los Rios Community College District, which includes Sacramento City College, campus officials said they have convened a rapid response team in preparation for any changes to the federal program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
“By working together, we can and will continue to ensure that our colleges are safe places for ALL students to pursue their dreams," District Chancellor Brian King wrote in an email to the community. “Just like our efforts on emergency response preparedness, we may not know how and when a crisis will present itself for our students, but we have a responsibility to be ready for all potential scenarios.”
Leaders of the Los Angeles Unified School District also reiterated Thursday that its schools are “safe zones,” and that immigration enforcement agents are not allowed on campuses without a review by district officials.
“Dreamers, whether they are students or teachers, have worked hard to contribute to this beautiful country and city, and they should be celebrated, not turned away,” LAUSD Board President Ref Rodriguez said. “We will do everything in our power to protect every one of those students and every one of those employees.”
White House officials said Trump is still reviewing DACA and denied that the president had decided to end it.
The program has protected about 750,000 people — and more than 214,000 live in California.
California's public university systems have been pulling together resources for their thousands of DACA students. Attorneys at the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center, the nation’s first university system to provide free legal aid to students without legal status and their families, have been working nonstop since the election — helping not just UC students but also other universities seeking to offer similar support to their students.
Cal State Northridge has opened a legal clinic to provide free legal help for students, with a focus on DACA, and Cal State leaders across the nation’s largest public university system have posted a new FAQ and resources and reached out to those who are anxious.
In a video address Thursday, Sacramento State University President Robert S. Nelsen encouraged students to continue to go to class and pointed to the mental health counselors and other staff on campus who are there to help. “Let’s stick together,” he said, “and let’s support each other.”
Across Los Angeles, the possibility of an imminent decision on DACA has sparked a week of rallies, protests and phone banks.
Additional information on immigration resources and policies in California schools can be found on websites such as: