Thousands of Educators, Many Bilingual, Fear Deportation

Washington Post story of popular DREAMer teacher leaving highlights predicament of much-needed educators across the U.S.

Mother and daughter lying on warm floor reading book

A powerful Washington Post column, “Our kids are losing one of their best teachers—because he’s a ‘Dreamer’” has focused attention on one of the reasons Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) is a popular and successful program that benefits all of American society.

In the column, Max Boot explains how Carlo Barrera, a popular science teacher and soccer coach at a New York City K-8 school, has decided to leave his teaching position due to uncertainty and fears surrounding the precarious status of DACA and the inability of Congress to pass a legislative alternative. Barerra is just one of 16,000 DREAMers with DACA status working in education.

If the Supreme Court rules that the current administration lawfully ended DACA, DREAMers will likely be able to work until their employment authorization document (work permit) expires. But their future after that is uncertain.

According to Don Graham, co-founder of TheDream.US, “Nearly 700,000 DREAMers, including thousands of teachers, rely on DACA to strengthen their own lives and the communities around them. Their stories remind us why DREAMers’ futures and opportunities should be protected – by maintaining DACA and passing legislation to provide citizenship for DREAMers.”

Barerra is just the tip of the iceberg: Ahead of last November’s Supreme Court arguments about the future of DACA, TheDream.US released avideo featuring Marisela, a TheDream.US Scholar graduate now working as an elementary school teacher. As she says, “I would tell the Supreme Court to let me do my job. I love my job. I love my students. I love my school. I love my community. DACA has benefited the U.S. because a new generation of professionals are ready to serve the country that they love.” Watch Marisela’s story here

Another DACA recipient and former TheDream.US scholar, Oscar Hernandez is a graduate of Arizona State University and an Arizona public school teacher through the Teach for America program. In a recent profile published by INSIGHT into Diversity, Oscar stated: “Having experienced extreme unpredictability at the hands of politicians, my fellow DREAMers and I are resilient and ready to face whatever hardships lie ahead of us. Employers should know that they can count on us to work hard despite the adversity that could lie ahead. At my lowest point, DACA liberated me from my fears and gave me the ability to envision plans for myself.

A Supreme Court decision on DACA is expected no later than June 2020. 

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