State education officials and education advocacy groups on Tuesday condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out the program that protects children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Trump announced that he would end former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Trump administration was faced with the threat of a lawsuit from some states challenging Obama’s executive order, which some state officials believed was an illegal overreach.
About 800,000 people were protected from deportation under the order – commonly referred as “dreamers.” Trump gave Congress six months to work out a legislative solution.
The New York State Education Department issued a statement Tuesday condemning the president’s action.
“By ending the DACA program, President Trump ignores the vast contributions Dreamers have already made to our nation’s economy and society, as well as their vast potential for future contributions. Now it is time for our Congressional leaders to demonstrate true leadership and embrace Dreamers for what they are – productive, hard-working, tax-paying members of our communities,” the department said in a statement.
In an earlier statement released Friday, state education officials pointed out that the department last year voted to allow eligible Dreamers to obtain teaching certifications and professional licenses.
New York State United Teachers also issued a statement saying it stood firmly with educators and students in defense of DACA.
“This is personal for so many. It is about good educators and students — roughly 42,000 New Yorkers brought to the United States as children — who contribute so much to the fabric of our state and nation. We know the young people covered by DACA and their families. We work alongside them. We shop in their small businesses. Our own children play with them and study with them,” the union said in a news release. “The beneficiaries of DACA deserve to be able to live, study and work here and, continue to pursue their dreams without fear they will be stripped of their legal status and possibly deported.”
The Education Trust–New York Executive Director Ian Rosenblum also criticized Trump’s action.
“We are grateful that Governor (Andrew) Cuomo and Attorney General (Eric) Schneiderman have made clear that they intend to fight this cruel decision in court, and as advocates for ensuring that all New York students are protected and supported, we join Chancellor Rosa and Education Commissioner Elia in their call to ‘continue to fight for our Dreamers because it is the right thing to do.'”
Cuomo said Trump decision is “just feeding the beast of bigotry red meat.”
“We have a federal government that is antithetical to everything we believe as New Yorkers. They have declared war on immigrants. By the way, their war on immigrants isn't against all immigrants. It's not against the white immigrants; it's against the black and the brown immigrants. Their toleration of the ignorance of the Ku Klux Klan, believe it or not, the KKK, talking about real Americans, 'we're the real Americans.' You're the real Americans? Unless you're a Navajo or a Sioux or an Apache, you're not a real American," he said.