State and national AFT leaders have issued strong statements against President Trump’s September 5 decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects more than 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children (including 120,000 in Texas). Trump’s executive action leaves a six-month window of opportunity for Congress to undo this damaging decision before it takes full effect.
Texas AFT President Louis Malfaro said:
As Texas educators, we have been a big part of the investment our state has made in the young people now threatened with deportation by President Trump’s decree breaking the promise of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. These young people have flourished in our classrooms and communities and are contributing greatly to the strength and prosperity of our state thanks to DACA. They include some who have followed in our footsteps to become Texas teachers. It is utterly wasteful and wrong to put their future in this country at risk. Congress needs to act now to reverse the Trump administration’s grievous error.
National AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement:
The young people covered by DACA are woven into our communities—learning in, working in, defending and contributing to the country that is their home. Offering protection to DACAmented immigrants was done based on the understanding that America is stronger when we value people and create opportunity to achieve the American dream, regardless of demography or geography.
President Trump made a promise that he would treat Dreamers with “great heart.” Now, for seemingly political reasons, he is breaking his promise to students, teachers, doctors, nurses and
lawyers who took him at his word. This is not the America I know—an America that says one thing to its citizens and then does another. Betraying DACA Dreamers is betraying the values of our diverse and welcoming nation. America will not be stronger or more secure when these young people are torn away from the country they love and call their own. America will be diminished—and the toll will be measured by families ripped apart, people cast into the shadows and into poverty, businesses upended, economies weakened and dreams shattered.
As children return to school, many carry with them constant, crippling terror and uncertainty because of their immigration status. Children should be free to learn and live without fear. Inhumane immigration policies deprive them of that freedom.
President Trump has an opportunity to lead on this issue. The time has come for the president and Congress to offer comprehensive solutions to our broken immigration system. We must defend DACA now, but we know the enduring work is to provide pathways to citizenship for millions of students, families and neighbors working and living alongside us, which includes passing the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017.
AFT will continue to fight to protect undocumented students, refugees, individuals with temporary protective status, and their families from the threat of deportation. A nation built by immigrants should welcome those in pursuit of the American dream, not pull up the ladder behind us.