Back-to-school appeal from an Austin teacher—put yourself in her shoes

I still get butterflies when I walk into my classroom at the beginning of the school year. I try very hard to transform my classroom into a welcoming place of learning—a sanctuary for all of my students, free from discrimination and racism. But I know that no matter how hard I try, I cannot shield my students from the pain and uncertainty caused by our current administration’s vitriolic rhetoric and increased immigration enforcement raids.

I know this firsthand because I am in their shoes. I am a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created in 2012 by President Obama. My status in the United States is conditional; I have to apply for DACA renewal every two years, which costs $495. DACA is not a green card or legal permanent resident status, it’s temporary. But thanks to DACA I have been able to pursue my dream of becoming a high school Spanish teacher in Austin, Texas.

That dream is being threatened by 10 state attorneys general who are ready to sue the federal government if DACA isn’t rescinded by Sept. 5. The attacks have gotten personal. I could lose my classroom and my ability to stay here in the United States, the only home I can remember. I need your help.

A way to defend DACA, and people like me, is to urge Congress to pass the Dream Act. Please contact your members of Congress today and help me defend DACA.

The Dream Act would provide individuals like me, and other aspiring Americans who were brought to the United States as children, with a road map to citizenship. You see, there is no line for us, no path for citizenship otherwise. I love America and want to stay. I want to continue teaching in, and be a part of, the community that has given me so much.

Today is the fifth anniversary of when DACA went into effect. To honor the programs and continue

Areli Zarate
Areli Zarate

building a more inclusive America, we must take the next step.

Help end the political gridlock around immigration, help #DefendDACA, by contacting your members of Congress and asking them to co-sponsor the Dream Act.

I write to you as an educator, a daughter and a caregiver for my students—and as someone who calls this country home. I am one of over 850,000 individuals with DACA status who want nothing more than to walk out of the shadows and into a future built on the promise of an America that breaks down barriers instead of building walls.

In unity,
Areli Zarate
DACAmented High School Teacher
Austin, Texas