Add the Walton Family Foundation to the list of organizations critical of the Trump administration’s decision Tuesday to phase out DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from the threat of deportation.
Marc Sternberg, K-12 Education Program Director for the WFF, said in a press release that, “children and young adults who were brought to this country by parents who wanted better, who are the embodiment of what it means to be American, should not be the target of a political fight they do not deserve.” Sternberg also wrote an article for the Huffington Post that describes his experience as a teacher and school administrator working with young immigrant students, including DACA recipients.
Every child deserves a real chance to succeed, no matter where they are from. This belief guides our work at the Walton Family Foundation, which is why we help high-quality schools across the country grow to serve more children, many of whom are Dreamers.
DACA, which was created by an Obama-era executive order, benefits certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and have lived here continuously for years — a group often called the “Dreamers.” The program does not confer legal status on the immigrants it covers or provide a path to citizenship (that would require legislation from Congress), but it does allow recipients to obtain identification, such as a driver’s license. To be eligible, one must have arrived in the U.S. at age 15 or younger, have a clean criminal record, and either be enrolled in high school or have a diploma or GED. Now that Trump has decided to end DACA, it is up to Congress to come up with a legislative replacement for the program.
This newspaper has been a frequent critic of the Walton Family Foundation, which in Arkansas is probably best known for its advocacy of so-called “education reform” measures, such as increased numbers of charter schools in Little Rock and elsewhere. But it’s exactly that work on education that has prompted the foundation to take a stand on this issue. Here’s the full release from Sternberg:
Today I write to add our voice to a growing chorus of educators and advocates speaking up on behalf of Dreamers. Children and young adults who were brought to this country by parents who wanted better, who are the embodiment of what it means to be American, should not be the target of a political fight they do not deserve.
That is why the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which will impact the lives of nearly 800,000 American Dreamers, is so high stakes.
As a former teacher and school leader, and now in my role at the Walton Family Foundation, I have been privileged to serve many Dreamers directly. They are some of the hardest-working, smartest, most passionate Americans I know. Since DACA was issued five years ago, they’ve graduated from college, gotten jobs and worked to make our communities and schools stronger.
As elected officials work to create a policy solution, the students, teachers and young adults affected by DACA should not be forced into the shadows. And our schools must remain safe, stable learning spaces for all children and teachers.
Please read more on The Huffington Post.
K-12 Education Program Director