Understanding Language DACA Statement

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Members of the Understanding Language team stand in solidarity with the Dreamers and defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We condemn the executive branch’s recent decision to rescind the DACA program and hope that congressional leadership will recognize the presence, efforts, and talents of these young people in our country.

 

Several statements have been issued by our colleagues yesterday, including these two by Stanford University and the Graduate School of Education:

"Stanford University vigorously and adamantly opposes the shameful decision announced today to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program." [see full Stanford University statement]

"We are deeply disappointed with the decision today to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We join the University in vigorously and adamantly opposing the decision, and reiterate our commitment to all members of our community." - Dan Schwartz, Dean, Bryan Brown, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Tom Dee, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

 

The statement that resonates with Understanding Language best is that released by Michael Casserly, the Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools, because it directly addresses K-12 students. We present it here and encourage you to read and share it widely.

WASHINGTON -- It should be remembered that Abraham Lincoln, the nation’s first Republican president and arguably its best, signed into law the “Act to Encourage Immigration” on July 4, 1864. He argued strenuously in favor of the legislation not only because it appealed to the aspirations of a good many people who wanted a brighter future, but because it was good for the nation, economically and culturally. In his view, immigrants and their children formed a “replenishing stream.” Of course, much has changed since 1864. But the fact that we are better off as a nation thanks to the contributions of immigrants has not. Yet before Lincoln’s advocacy and since, there have been forces loose in the country that would demonize that stream as a polluted river that must be dammed up—or walled off.

For those who work in public education, of course, these broader concerns over immigration come second to our immediate focus on the health and welfare of our immigrant children who were brought to this country through no fault of their own. The mission of public schools is to create opportunity—not for some children, but for all. The public-school system has not always been true to that dream, but it is striving to meet the needs of those dreamers now. For urban public schools, whose classrooms are filled with students from all over the world, our mission is not to reflect or perpetuate the walls that others would build. Our job is to tear them down, to educate future generations of informed, engaged citizens. In the spirit of this mission, we condemn the dissolution of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—whether now or in six months—by the president, and the value system that led him to conclude that America could only be great again without the patriotism, ingenuity, and voices of these children.

We now call on Congress to act swiftly to enshrine this protection into law and remove the fear and uncertainty facing so many of our nation’s schoolchildren.