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Teach For America Urges Congress to Pass the DREAM Act
The Trump administration announced today that the DACA executive order is being rescinded. The reversal of DACA runs counter to our core values and deeply held belief that individuals who come to the U.S. as children should be able to pursue an education without the threat of deportation and should have a pathway to fully participate in American society as citizens.
Since 2013, Teach For America and the communities we partner with have benefited from the immense talent and commitment of more than 190 DACA corps members. They are part of our community. They are role models to the thousands of students they teach, and leaders working alongside all of us to expand opportunity for every child. Today's action threatens not only them but also the thousands of students in our classrooms who are undocumented and the thousands of students who will be left without a teacher.
We’re working closely with our school partners to minimize the impact on students. We will continue to provide our DACAmented corps members and alumni with financial support and legal assistance. And we will continue to push for passage of the bipartisan DREAM Act, working in partnership with legislators on both sides of the aisle, immigrant organizations, and our DACA community.
Join us in urging Congress to pass the DREAM Act to provide permanent protections for DACAmented recipients and our next generation of DREAMers.
What You Can Do
Attend an Event: Visit DefendDACA.com to learn about events in your community and ways you can advocate for our immigrant community.
Be Prepared: If you or someone you know is undocumented, it is important to know what it means practically if DACA ends. Check out this comprehensive advisory from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and these 10 steps compiled by United We Dream.
Support Students: We regularly update this TFA Resource Guide for Educators with materials you can use in your classroom, including these tools: the Department of Education Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth, the 10 Ways to Support Undocumented Students from E4FC, and the AFT’s Protecting Our Students factsheets. Download and display this customizable Unafraid Educator poster, general Unafraid Educator poster, and other safe-space visuals for your classroom.
Stay Informed: Whether you are an immigrant or ally, you can stay informed and find rapidly updated information on advocacy campaigns, mental health assistance, and your rights at The Informed Immigrant.
- Tweet at your Senator and Representative to show your support for the DREAM Act and DACA recipients using the hashtags #DREAMAct, #DACA, or #HeretoStay. Sample tweets:
- I stand by @teachforamerica #DACA teachers who reached 10,000 students in 11 states.
- The #DREAMAct would provide a pathway to citizenship for 190 @teachforamerica corps members, alumni and staff.
Share Your Experience: Undocumented Americans share authentic messages of joy at #UndocuJoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is DACA?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established by President Obama via executive action in June 2012 to provide temporary relief from deportation and two-year work permits to qualified young adults who were brought to the United States as children. DACA unlocked countless economic opportunities for roughly 800,000 young people, 700,000 of whom are in the workforce and pay income taxes. In addition to providing work permits, DACA allows young immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, get health insurance, open bank accounts, pay taxes, enroll in college, take out mortgages and car loans, and provide for their families.
How is DACA being eliminated?
The Trump administration is winding down DACA protections, though details on the process are not immediately clear. News reports indicate that new applications will not be processed, but that renewals will be processed for a limited time. This means existing work permits and protections will expire based on recipients’ renewal date, between 2018 and 2020.
What does this mean for our DACAmented corps members and alumni?
The impact is devastating to our corps and the communities we serve. More than 190 corps members, alumni, and staff members will be among the 800,000 DACA recipients who will lose their work permits and be forced to live in the shadows to avoid deportation. As an organization, we will be forced to defer applicants with DACA status, and our undocumented students would lose a pathway to work legally.
What should replace DACA?
The bipartisan DREAM Act of 2017. U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) in July introduced the DREAM Act of 2017, seeking to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who know no other home than the United States. The legislation would provide permanent relief to recipients of the DACA program who will lose their right to work and protection from deportation because of Trump’s action.
Durbin and Graham have also introduced an intermediate solution known as the BRIDGE Act, which would provide relief from deportation and work permits to DACA recipients (but no pathway to citizenship) for three years. This would be a short-term solution to protect DACA recipients in the time period between when DACA protections run out and a permanent legislative solution such as the DREAM Act is in place.
How does the DREAM Act of 2017 work?
The DREAM Act of 2017 is bipartisan legislation that allows certain individuals brought to the U.S. as children to obtain lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they:
- Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;
- Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
- Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;
- Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
- Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.
Why does Teach For America support the DREAM Act of 2017?
We believe all students should have access to an excellent education and a safe, welcoming classroom, including the estimated 2 million children in the United States who are undocumented immigrants. Since 2013, we’ve recruited corps members with DACA status because they can act as role models for our undocumented students and create safe, quality learning spaces for all students and their families. We recognize our DACAmented teachers are training our country’s next generation of leaders, honor their contribution to our society and economy, and believe they deserve a pathway to citizenship. Read more in our statement on the DREAM Act of 2017.
Still have questions or want to share your DACA story?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.