June 22, 2020

Supreme Court upholds protection for immigrant 'Dreamers'

Author: Kara Smith
Source:  NYSUT Communications
supreme court

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court kept the dream alive for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

The Court ruled 5–4 against the attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA grants two-year, renewable terms of residency to qualified immigrants brought to the country as children — known as “Dreamers” — allowing them to legally work, attend school and live in the United States. Prior to the decision, more than 600,000 immigrants faced the threat of deportation.

“This is a great victory for the approximately 42,000 DACA recipients in New York State, and the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients nationwide,” said Andy Pallotta NYSUT president. “Dreamers attend our schools, educate our students, defend our country in the military, work and live in our communities and make valuable contributions to our state and nation.”

NYSUT, NEA and other education partners filed an amicus brief detailing the many benefits of DACA for U.S. students and educators. Since the program began in 2012, almost 9,000 DACA recipients have joined the education profession, helping to alleviate the shortage of qualified educators — particularly in high-needs schools and communities — and serving as role models for the increasingly diverse next generation of students.

“While we applaud this decision, we can’t forget that this is only a temporary victory,” said Pallotta. “Until our federal leaders pass comprehensive immigration reform, NYSUT will continue to stand in solidarity with immigrants and their families.”

The American Federation of Teachers, led by President Randi Weingarten, joined the NAACP as an original plaintiff in Trump v. NAACP, the U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA.

“Let this ruling remind us that Congress and the president must act on comprehensive immigration reform. As the COVID-19 crisis has shown, our immigrant communities are essential to Americans weathering this pandemic,” said Weingarten. “It’s a reminder that every person, regardless of immigration status, should be able to live without fear — particularly those who came here as children and know no other home but the United States.”

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García noted that the decision “validates our core identity as a country — one that thrives when we welcome and embrace diverse contributions and ideas.

“Most importantly, however, the decision is a much-needed and timely victory for the hundreds of thousands of DACA holders who will continue to work on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, including nearly 15,000 educators who will continue to sustain student learning,” said Eskelsen García.