Leading state and district education chiefs today joined in a powerful call to Congress and the Trump Administration to protect the law-abiding young people known as Dreamers. Members of Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan coalition of state and district education leaders, called for lasting protections under the law, and urged the Administration not to end the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the absence of a new law, because doing so would harm America’s schools and communities.
Hanseul Kang, DC State Superintendent of Education, said, “It is in our national interest to ensure that the young people who are here in our country today are educated and working, rather than being pushed into the shadows. Knowing the moral and economic stakes, we as education leaders are raising our voice to call for Congress to pass a law that offers lasting protections, in the context of commonsense immigration reform, and to make sure current protections stay in place until a law is passed.”
“Dreamers are our future — students, members of our communities, even teachers. They’re productively engaged and employed, and it would deeply hurt our schools if they were pushed out or deported. Our schools have done their job in educating them to be contributing members of our society. We must reform the law — and make sure no harm is done to these young people in the meantime,” said Robert W. Runcie, Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools in Florida.
Both leaders emphasized the human cost to pushing these young people into the shadows, and reflected on their own experiences as immigrants. “I know the fear immigrant families and students experience,” Kang said.
In absence of badly-needed comprehensive immigration reform, the DACA program protects young people who came to America as children, often through no choice of their own. Many of these young people grew up and were educated in the United States and have never known any other country.
On Monday, Chiefs for Change issued a statement calling on the Administration to preserve the program. Chiefs for Change members have previously written about their personal experiences as immigrant children and the responsibility of educators to ensure that every student has access to an excellent education, regardless of their background.
ABOUT CHIEFS FOR CHANGE
Chiefs for Change is a coalition of state and district education Chiefs dedicated to excellence and equity for all students. Chiefs for Change members lead education systems serving 5.3 million students, 330,000 teachers, and 10,000 schools.