The PESB continues to be supportive of Washington State’s DACA recipients and undocumented youth, many of whom are educators. We acknowledge and are proud of the courage displayed by our educators and school communities in the face of anxiety and uncertainty, and have called on Congress to swiftly pass a clean Dream Act.
On behalf of our educators and students they serve, the PESB has called on Congress to immediately pass a clean Dream Act. We have also urged that passing the DREAM act include a pathway to citizenship and that it be authorized without any compromises regarding border security, enforcement, and additional ICE appropriations. Our communities deserve the certainty and permanent protections the Dream Act provides.
Since the DACA program was implemented in 2012, more than 800,000 people nationwide have applied for and received DACA status. This number includes thousands of educators in our K-12 system nationally. At the same time, Washington State is facing a severe teaching shortage. We also see the number of English Language Learners (ELL) students growing rapidly, and the research demonstrating the powerful impact that teachers who look like and reflect their students is undeniable.
Many bright, talented, and bilingual educators in our state are DACA recipients who will lose their ability to work and serve our students in the coming months. Stripping away great educators only hurts our education system, our students and families, and our economy. The PESB takes an active stance in support of protecting our Dreamers. We will continue to advocate for urgent action at the national level, and acknowledge that current uncertainty as well as future changes will have an impact locally.
We encourage educators and school communities to connect with local immigrant rights and civil rights agencies for further guidance on this issue and others related to immigration rights. Any legal advice should be provided only by a qualified attorney.
In the meantime, PESB continues to explore ways that we can contribute and provide support. We are grateful and proud of our educators who support and display courage every day for their students and families. We will stand with our communities to ensure there is a path forward for Dreamers and undocumented youth in the U.S. and Washington State.