A real-time civics lesson could be coming to some classrooms in Los Angeles whose teachers are among the 800,000 young immigrants protected from deportation by DACA.
An organization that could be particularly hard hit by the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach for two years in schools in low-income communities. Some of the recruits decide to stay on as teachers.
TFA-LA, which has about 230 teachers in L.A., currently has 16 who have DACA to thank for being able to work without fear of deportation. Twelve other DACA beneficiaries came out of the TFA-LA program and have continued teaching after their two-year stints.
Leaders of five California education systems joined forces Tuesday to urge Congress to extend protections against deportations for young immigrants who entered the United States as children.
President Trump announced Tuesday that he would phase out the Obama-era policy, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that postponed deportations of nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally or fell out of legal status before age 16.
"We are deeply disappointed by President Trump’s callous and misguided decision to effectively end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program," the leaders wrote in a letter to the California congressional delegation. "This is a step backward for our nation — a nation built by immigrants. It unnecessarily punishes hundreds of thousands of bright young people who were brought to this country as children and are contributing members of American society. America is their home and today’s action will not only derail futures, but it will deprive California and the nation of the promise and potential DACA participants possess."
The news can teach you lessons and teachers have your back.
That’s the message David Wiltz told his social studies students at Thomas Jefferson High School south of downtown L.A. on Tuesday.
The juniors, a mix of English learners and special-needs students, fidgeted, listened and rested their heads on their desks as Wiltz engaged them in a conversation about President Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Leaders of California State University and California Community Colleges, the largest public university systems in the nation, joined in denouncing the Trump administration's decision Tuesday to end protections for thousands of young immigrants.
“Ending DACA is a heartless and senseless decision that goes against American ideals and basic human decency," said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the state community college system, which educates 2.1 million students on 114 campuses. About 61,000 of the system's students in 2015 received in-state tuition under AB 540, the state's closest proxy for estimating the number of students without legal status.
"Those who are affected by this decision were brought to this country as children and are pursuing an education and making contributions to their communities," Oakley said in a statement. "Some have served in the armed forces defending this country. In California, we don’t put dreams – or Dreamers – on hold."
At Thomas Jefferson High School in South L.A., social studies teacher David Wiltz told his class, which includes English learners and special education students, that he would do whatever was in his power to protect them.
At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, several students gathered at the UCLA Labor Center to watch a livestream of the Trump administration's announcement on whether it would extend protections for nearly 800,000 young immigrants like them.
When U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions announced the government would rescind the Obama-era policy known as DACA that has deferred deportation proceedings and let these immigrants study and work, the room went dead silent.
"There was disbelief at the way Jeff Sessions was framing it – that we take jobs, that we're criminals," said 22-year-old Yael, who is on track to graduate from UCLA this month in psychology and labor and workplace studies.
The University of California's chief immigration legal expert urged students who have received government reprieves from deportation to stay calm in the face of President Trump's announcement Tuesday that he plans to phase out DACA protections.
Maria Blanco, who heads the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, said a major lobbying campaign will try to push Congress to extend the protections to nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally or fell out of legal status. Under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, deportation proceedings have been suspended against young immigrants brought to the country before age 16 who stayed in school and out of trouble. The young people also have been allowed to obtain work permits.
"We have a very good shot at legislation in Congress and making that happen right away," Blanco said. "Students shouldn't do anything like quit school or their jobs.
As confusion swirls about the future for DACA beneficiaries, local school districts and colleges are reiterating their support for DACA students. Here are websites and links for Dreamers looking for legal resources:
University of California President Janet Napolitano blasted President Trump's decision to end a program that deferred deportation for 800,000 young immigrants and urged Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to protect them.
"This backward-thinking, far-reaching move threatens to separate families and derail the futures of some of this country’s brightest young minds, thousands of whom currently attend or have graduated from the University of California," she said in a statement Tuesday.
Napolitano, who crafted the original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy when she was U.S. Homeland Security secretary in the Obama administration, said the 10-campus UC system would continue to offer services for students who are in the country illegally. About 4,000 such students — also known as Dreamers — attend UC schools, with the largest number at UCLA and UC Irvine.