Trump’s immigration ‘reset’ fails our immigrant students, their families


by Gladys Márquez, Blue Island, Ill., high school teacher

Six months ago I wrote an article regarding my concern, as an educator of English Language Learners and an activist, about the mean-spirited rhetoric used by Republican presidential candidates against our nation’s immigrant students, their families and communities.


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At his long-awaited speech tonight on immigration, Donald Trump offered more of the same to those of us who were looking for him to offer a common-sense path forward. Instead, the end result was a reiteration of the same divisive proposals he offered during the primaries.

All students, regardless of their country of origin, have hopes and dreams and aspire to reach their fullest potential in the land they call home. My students, many of whom are DREAMers, who have known no other country than ours and who are American in every way, understand that Trump policies, if enacted, have the potential to destroy their lives and separate them from their families. They live in fear that they might come home some day to an empty house because their parents were detained. They listen apprehensively for any sign of hope for their families and communities, and Trump failed to deliver anything other than more bluster.

Our immigration system is broken. The affects of this broken system on our students can be seen in their eyes. And we are teachers. We look into those eyes.

Unfortunately, the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from Trump has placed our students, their families and entire communities on high alert, resulting in, among other things, increased absenteeism because some families are fearful to send their children to school. Take, for example, his proposal to deport 11 million immigrant children, women and men, including American children born here to undocumented parents. 

Gladys Marquez NEA
                    Gladys Márquez

But it’s more than just rhetoric. Trump opposes providing a path to citizenship for immigrant families. He pledges to repeal the DREAM Act, which allows certain undocumented individuals who came to the United States as children to receive temporary relief from removal and apply for work authorization. He opposes President Obama’s executive actions providing peace of mind to immigrant students and their families. And he opposes sanctuary cities that protect DREAMers and their families. Trump’s support of punitive laws such as Arizona’s “Papers Please” Law, his pledge to abolish birthright citizenship and use of demeaning terms such as “anchor babies” have clearly defined the his lack of empathy for immigrant communities and their families.

These views are contrary to our core values as educators. We believe that all students deserve a great public education. We believe that students, and their families, must not live in fear of deportation or separation but instead be able to learn and contribute to our great country.

The time to act is now. We must organize, advocate for and educate our local communities. We must demand that Trump put an end to the hateful and divisive language directed at our students and their families and instead seek solutions that recognize we are a nation of immigrants.

We can and must make sure this happens — for our students, for our communities, for our profession.

Si se puede!


Reader Comments

  1. Although the children maybe vulnerable in these situations, I agree with Kevin. Illegal is illegal. Other families who have gone through the right channels deserve a good education too. Unfortunately we have too many people who try to cheat the system and take away from others who also deserve a good education. Not all these families have been running for their lives. We have thousands of children and families in this country who also live in unfortunate situations. I believe they should come first. Again follow the correct steps and I’ll welcome you.

  2. Go get a life and go get a heart! First we are human beings. Can you not
    understand the plight of people who are desperate to take care of their
    families? So desperate they leave everything they have ever known to go
    to a different country where they are rejected and looked down on?
    And for many of them, to never see their parents or children again?
    It’s easy to say the hard-nosed things you said, living in affluence with all
    your needs met. These people have been living here, paying rent, paying
    taxes, working hard for many years, decades, and they ARE Americans.
    All they need is papers that say so. They are some of the best Americans
    we have, as a teacher I know there are no better students and families.

    I hope you never have to be in a desperate situation where your life and
    your children are threatened, with no hope. I hope if you have a bad
    situation in your family that someone will help you – that is what we
    are here for in this world. Not to greedily keep our beautiful county
    to ourselves, and say everyone who is not perfect keep out! But to share
    what we have and be open-hearted. Only when we share and help others
    and overlook their flaws – look for the good in life – will we be real human

    1. Desperate people fight for their country, just as was the case 250 years ago when this country was founded. The cost of freedom is often blood and sacrifice for the next generation. The ‘now’ mentality of too many people in this country can’t fathom the pain and suffering that comes with freedom. Running away from a country you don’t like to the handouts of this country is not freedom for anyone. Laws exist and must either be followed or changed.

      1. Ummmm, you mean 250 years ago when our forefathers LEFT their home countries and then REVOLTED against them? If they had stayed and “fought for their country,” instead of “running away from a country you don’t like,” like you suggest, America would still be under British control.

        1. So you are suggesting illegal immigrants over throw this country? How? Hillabeast will take away our guns.

          Our forefathers did not come here illegally, as is the topic here. Illegal aliens should not be here. They wouldn’t but for bleeding heart liberals who want to pander to get their vote.

  3. Anyone here illegally, including children of illegals should be immediately deported to where ever it is they came from. They should be first fined for the administrative costs of deporting them. This country is not a handout for anyone who does not like where they originally lived.

    It is time for taxpayers to demand action. Might just happen unless the non thinkers of this nation decide to vote for pathological liar Billary.

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