As teachers, educators and school support staff serving students and families of all immigration statuses, we oppose the Obama administration’s recent directives that have resulted in invasive immigration raids within our communities. At a time of highly visible threats against immigrant communities on a national level, we are dismayed that the federal government supports xenophobia through these violent tactics.
The misnomer “felons, not families” ignores the truth that people with criminal records include our students and their families who have been caught up in racist and punitive policing policies. ICE continues to separate children from families through raids, detention, and deportation.
We are worried about our students and their parents and relatives. A climate of fear is leading to increased student absence and decreased academic performance in our schools. Students cannot focus on education when their basic security is at risk, knowing that they or a family member could be picked up at any moment.
As New York City public school teachers, we ask that our city government do its part to respond. We ask that the offices of the Chancellor and the Mayor take explicit steps to support undocumented and mixed status families whose children attend NYC schools.
We have seen Los Angeles and other school districts listed below, come out with affirmative resolutions in support of immigrant communities, and we ask our elected officials and their appointees to do the same.
In the face of this frightening climate, we see an opportunity for our government leaders to showcase how welcoming NYC schools can be. for immigrant students and families and barring ICE from entering school buildings.
We ask that the office of the Chancellor:
Publicize an explicit statement that all students and families are welcome in NYC, regardless of immigration status, and that schools are a place to find support not terror.
Join school districts from San Francisco, Montgomery County MD, and Los Angeles in publicly affirming the NYC Department of Education’s support for immigrant students and families by explicitly outlining its support for immigrant students and families and barring ICE from entering school buildings.
Provide direct and immediate support to any NYC student and/or family member facing deportation hearings and provide sufficient resources to do so.
We ask that you work in conjunction with the mayor to:
Publicly acknowledge that ICE raids are happening in New York City on a regular basis.
Ensure that the NYPD does not target students and families on their way to and from school.
Our communities need protection from a broken immigration system and a broken policing system.
We implore you, as our elected leaders, to say no to raids and demand an end to deportations.
TeachDream NYC and supporters
The rest of this website is an initial compilation of websites, articles and contacts that have been useful to us as educators (broadly defined) in supporting undocumented students and their families. It includes information and references to organizations and people to better help guide undocumented students, especially in New York City public schools.
- Wonder what legal pathways are available to your students, check out the Legal Pathways page, including the list of FREE LEGAL SERVICE PROVIDERS in NYC
- Want to start a DREAM Team at your school, check out the DreamTeam page
- Wonder what options are available to students after high school, check out tips in the Post High School page and/or the College page
- Want to learn or share strategies to incorporate immigration issues in your classroom and make your classroom a safe space check out the Class Resources page and the Safe Space Visuals page
- Are a social worker counseling undocumented youth, check out the Health and Well-being page
And be sure to hit up the websites of these great organizations:
- New York State Youth Leadership Council: Undocumented Youth Leading Change
- Educators for Fair Consideration: Empowering undocumented young people in their pursuit of college, career and citizenship (Bay Area)
- Families for Freedom: a New York-based multi-ethnic human rights organization by and for families facing and fighting deportation – See more at: http://familiesforfreedom.org/about#sthash.cNXgNmwS.dpuf
Note: Undocumented, in this guide, is used to refer to students who do not have legal residency status in the United States. They may have come 10 years ago, or 10 days ago. They may have come by air or by their own two feet. They may have overstayed a visa or may never have gotten one. Either way, they are in our classrooms.