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April 27, 2017

On edge under new administration, DACA students find refuge in school

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  • Approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools each year. Most are protected from deportation under an Obama administration policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
  • About 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the U.S., and more than 750,000 have been granted DACA status. In order to qualify for DACA, they must have arrived in the U.S. as children, be in high school or graduated and possess no felony record.
  • While President Donald Trump campaigned on ending DACA, his position in office has since been less clear. This past week, Trump reassured young DACA recipients, often called dreamers, that he doesn’t plan to target them. However, a lawsuit filed last week claims one dreamer has already been deported, leaving many students on edge.
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA) says DACA recipients should be deported and that granting them special status is unfair to the millions of people waiting to enter the U.S. legally.
  • DACA recipient and high school student Elena says she is frightened every day that her parents will be deported, but finds school to be a safe and supportive place.

  1. Essential question: Do you think immigration policy in the U.S. needs to be reformed? Explain your answer.
  2. What should the Trump administration’s policy be with DACA recipients?
  3. Why might it be beneficial for many undocumented students to have a teacher who is also a DACA recipient?
  4. Why do politicians like Rep. Steve King believe DACA recipients should be deported? Do you agree? Why or why not?
  5. What challenges could face DACA recipients if they were forced to return to their country of birth?

Extension activities:

Read this PBS NewsHour Teachers’ Lounge piece Column: I’m a teacher, a ‘Dreamer’ and I know why my students are scared to hear one teacher’s immigration story.

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