A message from Phillip Garza, Chief College and Diversity Officer at IDEA Public Schools:
On September 5, during a press conference Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), ending the program in six months. The change jeopardizes the future of nearly 800,000 young people already approved under the program, as well as the 65,000 undocumented students who are set to graduate from high school this year. Though the new policy will not take immediate effect, it is a painful blow to those brought to the United States as children and who, for the first time under the Obama Administration, were able to pursue education and employment without fear of deportation. From all we know now, this decision carries grave economic, social and moral implications.
Relatedly, late Wednesday, August 30th, Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia blocked Senate Bill 4, the controversial measure designed to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities” in Texas. For now, this gives Texas time, though how long is uncertain, to find a compromise that does not “erode public trust” and leave “many communities less safe.”
For now, as a public school system, we will continue to live up to our responsibility to all students. This means ensuring their safety, creating the environments and cultures necessary for learning, as well as educating our students, teaching to mastery the objectives necessary to achieve our mission of College For All. During these tumultuous times, we will continue to advocate and support the undocumented and DACAmented members of our team and family; this means our students, our families, and our staff.
For now, we are committed to supporting DACAmented staff specifically as we come to understand the rescinding of DACA as an employer, the rights of our employees, and how we might help them going forward.
For now, our college success team and college counselors will continue to support students to colleges and universities that have opened pathways for undocumented students.
For now, our alumni team is devoted to working with DACAmented alumni in college as we work with students and university leaders to understand the real impact of this decision, and options to stay in college going forward.
For now, we will continue to work with advocacy and policy staff situated in Austin and our Nation’s Capital to effectively advocate for our students given the intelligence we are collecting from allies on the inside.
For now, we will continue providing tools and resources that ensure, as history happens around us, our students are learning about these critical issues, grappling with them, and deciding for themselves their point of view. This is the foundation of a democratic education; one we will continue to strive towards, together.