Roughly 5,000 teachers in California are caught in the crosshairs of President Trump’s plan to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, joining hundreds of thousands of individuals across the state and the country facing an uncertain future. Known as DACA, the Obama administration program provides undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States at a young age by their parents with temporary protection from deportation and permission to legally work.
As the program heads to Congress with a six-month deadline to decide its fate, DACA recipients must move quickly to apply for a renewal. Those with permits set to expire by March 5, 2018, must apply by Oct. 5, 2017, for a renewal. New applications are not being accepted. Teachers who already have a work permit under DACA have until 2019 before they expire.
Meanwhile, 20,000 DACA-eligible K-12 and postsecondary teachers nationally are in limbo, the Migration Policy Institute has found, with the largest share in California (generally, about one in 10 California workers is undocumented according to the Pew Research Center). Some organizations have already taken steps to proactively support their teachers. Teach for America, for example, is offering free legal assistance to about 100 undocumented members currently teaching, and to TFA alumni.
In California, many school districts and campuses have declared themselves as sanctuaries and limit cooperation with immigration authorities. The state, too, has sued the Trump administration, as has the University of California. California leaders have also pledged $30 million in aid for the state’s DACA participants. Gov. Jerry Brown and the state legislature have agreed to provide $20 million on immigration legal services and $10 million on college financial aid through One California, a state program that funds non-profit legal centers for immigrants.
Along with increased emotional stress and fear experienced by undocumented people, the DACA cancelation has economic implications. The sudden loss of staff could hit some California districts hard due to a worsening teaching shortage. A 2016 survey from CSBA and the Learning Policy Institute found that 75 percent of surveyed districts said there are too few qualified teachers to fill their vacancies. Economically, the nonpartisan think tank the Center for American Progress estimates that the elimination of the program could cost California $11.6 billion annually.
In response to these concerns, CSBA has compiled sample policies and legal guidance. Listed below are further resources that school districts can use to better serve all staff and students, regardless of immigration status.
- News Release: CSBA President Susan Henry Issues Statement on Decision to End the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (9/6/2017)
- Legal Guidance: Providing All Children Equal Access to Education, Regardless of Immigration Status(2/24/2017)
- CSBA Sample Board Resolution(2/24/2017)
- CSBA Sample Board Policy BP 5111 – Admission.Excerpt only. For full sample policy, please log in to Gamut Online. (2/24/2017)
- CSBA Sample Board Policy BP 5111.1 – District Residency.Excerpt only. For full sample policy, please log in to Gamut Online. (2/24/2017)
- CSBA Blog — Supporting Undocumented Students & Families after DACA Decision
- CELA Undocumented Students Toolkit — Fact Sheets, Guides and Legal Resources, Sample Resolutions
- Letter from California State Superintendent Calling for Public Schools to Remain Safe Havens
- California Department of Education Page on Immigration Status of Students
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center Post-Election Resource for Schools
- American Immigration Council Fact Sheet on Public Education for Immigrant Students
- Migration Policy Institute — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Data Tools
- EdSource — Understanding DACA in California: A Quick Guide