September 21, 2018

Back to School Immigration Update

Source:  AFT
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Dear Immigration Advocates,

As we begin a new school year, despite the excitement of new students and possibilities, a cloud of uncertainty remains around our students who are immigrants or from immigrant families. Additionally, a bullying atmosphere remains in many communities. Because we want our members and their students and families to feel as welcome as possible, we invite you to dive into these Colorín Colorado resources that can help you and your colleagues get to know your ELL and immigrant students better and start working together to meet their needs. Some of our most popular back-to-school resources are included below.

We also have lots of resources for Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-October 15) on Colorín Colorado. Here are some great ideas for the classroom and lots of booklists! Take a look at these classroom resources and activities. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook and for the latest information and resources on ELLs and immigrant students, check out our weekly ELL headlines as well.

For more information on countering hate in our schools and institutions, please join us Monday, Sept. 24, for an important Share My Lesson webinar discussion, After Charlottesville: How Uncomfortable Conversations Can Overcome Hate. Facing History and Ourselves and the American Federation of Teachers are co-hosting a conversation with author Eli Saslow on how college students helped change the heart and mind of the heir apparent to America's white nationalist movement. Note: This session is available for education credit, per your school's or district's approval. Follow Facing History and Ourselves on SML. To register please go to the link below:

Sept. 24 Webinar: Overcoming Hate

Share on Twitter and on Facebook.

We still need your help in an amicus brief the AFT is planning to file on behalf of AFT members and the families we serve in support of a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's shameful and inhumane family separation and family detention policies. The lawsuit, State of Washington, et al. v. USA, was filed on June 26 by 17 State Attorneys General, and the Attorney General of DC.

Our amicus brief will tell the stories of our members in the K-12, PSRP, healthcare, and public employee divisions who through their work understand the importance of keeping families together and keeping parents and children in non-detained settings.  We are looking for members who can talk about the negative long-term physical and mental health consequences of such separation and detention, based on their own training and experience. We realize this crisis is recent and many of these kids have not been placed in a regular school setting yet, but we want to relate your experiences with other children separated from parents or in custodial settings.

If not you, do you know of any members in your local who have can speak to the experience of family separation? The members' stories would not be in the form of a lengthy declaration, but instead be a relatively short description.

Finally, please consider writing a blog post about back-to-school amidst the pervasive unsafe atmosphere for our students who are immigrants and how you, your colleagues, your members are addressing the challenges and embracing the opportunities that come to a community when immigrants arrive.

If you can get back to Giselle Lundy-Ponce as soon as possible with your blog post and/or names and contact information of members that can contribute to our amicus brief work, that would be wonderful. Giselle is cc'd on this email and her email is

Thank you again for all your support!


Mary Cathryn Ricker, NBCT
Executive Vice President, AFT

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