Some 37,000 teachers and teaching assistants working in public schools could gain a pathway to citizenship under two bills pending in the U.S. Senate.
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The legislation, S. 874 and S. 879, provide a pathway to citizenship—and certainty—for Dreamers brought to this country as minors, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and people granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for humanitarian reasons—populations that including tens of thousands of educators in our classrooms.
The bills, along with the American Dream and Promise Act passed in he House, would provide relief and stability to immigrants who are educators, our students, neighbors and friends.
“For far too long now, Donald Trump and his allies have played dangerous political games with their lives. They have demonized them for political gain,” said Utah teacher and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García.
Dreamers, DACA recipients, and TPS holders are people such as Areli Zaìrate, a teacher in Austin, Texas, who came to the United States with her family at the age of eight. Thanks to DACA, Zaìrate is now a high school teacher, joining educators like her working in public schools, colleges and universities all across our nation, inspiring the next generation of Americans.
Meet more educators who are Dreamers here.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, about 33,000 of the 37,000 educators who would be eligible for legal status are DACA participants. The rest are humanitarian TPS holders.
Overall, an estimated 2.5 million immigrants could gain legal status under the Dream and Promise Act, concluded the Center for American Progress. Among those, up to 2.1 million Dreamers would be eligible. Dreamers:
- Have lived in the United States for at least four years prior to the bill’s enactment date.
- Were younger than 18 when they arrived.
- Are enrolled in or have completed high school, an equivalent program, or an industry-recognized credential program..
There are crucial votes in Congress at various points in the months ahead on the Dream and Promise Act and the Senate bills. Are you ready to take your activism beyond just sending emails to your elected officials? Are you ready to join a nationwide network of super-activists fighting for racial, social and economic justice on behalf of students in our public schools? Then it’s time to join the NEA EdJustice League.