Upon taking office, President Trump signaled on more than one occasion that he’d look at DACA recipients—Dreamers, aspiring young Americans, neighbors, colleagues, and, yes, our students—with ‘great heart.’ Instead, today he cruelly abandoned his promise and decided to rescind DACA, disrupting their lives, and tearing apart our families and communities.
By dismantling DACA, Trump has attacked Texas teacher Areli Zarate and turned his back on her. She arrived in the United States with her family when she was 8 years old. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and, following her passion for teaching, she now is a DACAmented high school teacher in Austin. Areli and educators like her are now working in our public schools, colleges, and universities across the country, inspiring and educating the next generation of Americans. They are helping prepare students like Gema Hernández, who, thanks to DACA, is the first in her family to graduate from college. Gema and many like her are our future teachers, scientists, engineers, and small business owners. We cannot afford to lose the creativity, talent, and contributions people such as Gema are making to our communities and our country.
Congress should not wait 6 months to permanently fix this decision but instead act immediately to protect DACA recipients and Dreamers, and pass into law the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017.
América is a nation that welcomes Dreamers and their many talents. When we embrace their contributions, the future is brighter for all of us. Ending DACA violates these core American values. This will turn their lives upside down and lead to unprecedented peril. After meeting all of the requirements to live and work in the United States, they will face deportation and separation from their families and our communities. They will again face anxiety and uncertainty about their future, stripped of the ability to live normal lives. Dashing the dreams of people like Areli and Gema is yet another example to add to the growing list of racist, hate-fueled acts by the Trump administration. This White House decision is immoral and un-American.
We will continue to raise our voices in a collective chorus for justice to defend and protect Dreamers and their families. Now more than ever, we need a permanent legislative solution to DACA so these young people have the certainty they deserve. Congress should not wait 6 months to permanently fix this decision but instead act immediately to protect DACA recipients and Dreamers, and pass into law the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017.
Lily Eskelsen García is the President National Education Association.