Organizing to Defend Against a "Heartless Assault"

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AFT President Randi Weingarten responded swiftly and strongly to the U.S. Attorney General's announcement last Tuesday, saying "America will be diminished" by canceling the five year old program. "The toll will be measured by families ripped apart, people cast into the shadows and into poverty, businesses upended, economies weakened and dreams shattered," she added. 
 
Ending DACA, Weingarten said, "is a heartless assault on young immigrants and on our communities."
 
Click here for Weingarten's full public statement on the repeal of DACA.
 
National and state union leaders have long advocated for protecting undocumented students, refugees, individuals with temporary protective status, and their families from the threat of deportation. Those efforts escalated ahead of last November’s election as then-candidate Donald Trump waged a divisive campaign targeting immigrants, along with other marginalized communities. They became more urgent when, following his inauguration, the president began pursuing policies based on his rhetoric. 
 
Click here for our previous report on our members' advocacy for immigrant communities.
 
"Growing the economy and expanding our tax base would be reason enough to help protect undocumented students from deportation," said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel. "For our teachers and classroom support staff in local PreK-12 schools and professors and instructors in community colleges and universities, it goes much deeper than that. It's also about helping them fulfill their dreams," added Hochadel, who taught physics and science in the state's technical high school system.
 
DACA was announced in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama as a form of administrative relief from the threat of deportation for eligible immigrants. Eligible recipients — also known as "Dreamers" — entered the U.S. before their 16th birthdays, passed rigorous background checks, and paid a $495 application fee. 
 
Click here for our national union's fact sheet on the rights of students at risk due to DACA's repeal.
 
Dreamers not in school could receive temporary, two-year work permits, subject to renewal, under DACA. Approximately 200,000 permits are scheduled to expire by March 5 of next year — meaning recipients have until October 5 to submit their renewal. Dreamers who fail to complete and turn in their paperwork risks the loss of their work authorization under DACA.
 
"DACA has been a lifeline for aspiring Americans," said Shellye Davis, a paraeducator at Hartford's Moylan Expeditionary Learning Academy and our federation's vice-president for Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel (PSRPs). "Dreamers who have grown up in this country should be assured they can live, work and pursue their dreams without fear of detention or deportation," added Davis, who also serves as co-president of our affiliated Hartford Federation of Paraeducators.
 
Our national union has over the past week worked with allies to help provide answers for Dreamers working in schools, colleges and universities across the state and nation. Partners include United We Dream, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the National Immigration Law Center and the Parental Readiness and the Empowerment Program (PREP). The shared goal is to help members better protect "DACAmented" and undocumented students and colleagues.
 
Click here for our national union's update for PreK-12 educators and PSRPs impacted by DACA's repeal.
 
Click here for our national union's update for impacted college faculty and graduate teachers.
 
These hard-working immigrants face an uncertain future — and will need information and the support of their union as the Trump Administration rolls-back DACA over the next six months.