Educators, school support staff and service providers are often the first individuals a student and/or family comes out to as undocumented.
Moreover, they are often the first ones to witness the impact of increased enforcement measures on students and their families.
Schools should be safe havens that embrace all students and families, regardless of citizenship and national origin, and that includes unaccompanied and refugee children. The 1982 U.S. Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe ruled that undocumented children have a constitutional right to receive a free public K–12 education, which provides the means to becoming a “self-reliant and self-sufficient participant in society,” the court wrote, and instills the “fundamental values necessary to the maintenance of a democratic political system.” However, today’s increased enforcement measures by the Department of Homeland Security and campaign promises made by the incoming administration threaten that right for thousands of undocumented youth and the 4.1 million U.S.-born children who live in mixed-status households with at least one parent or family member who is undocumented.
Editor’s note: This content was originally published by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and its partners: United We Dream’s Dream Educational Empowerment Program, the National Immigration Law Center and First Focus. This excerpt was adapted and reprinted with generous permission from the AFT. Source.