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BPS and BTU Affirm District’s Commitment to Protecting Our students
Dear Boston Public Schools Community,
As we get ready to welcome back our families, students and staff for the start of another exciting school year, the Boston School Committee and Boston Public Schools would like to affirm our deep and unwavering commitment to providing all of our young people, regardless of their immigration status, a high-quality education. As new developments arise nationally, one thing remains constant here at BPS, and that is our continued focus on creating a “Culture of We” in which we celebrate the diversity that makes our city and district truly great.
Today, we received news that the Trump administration is formally ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. Since former President Obama signed the executive order in 2012, DACA has greatly benefited those we call “DREAMers” by allowing them to secure in-state college tuition and work permits, as well as obtain social security numbers. While this action will greatly impact these 800,000 individuals, our entire city will feel the consequences of this change, particularly in our schools.
Today, Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang and I partnered together in releasing the following joint statement urging Congress to pass legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who arrived in the United States as children:
We stand shoulder-to-shoulder in fighting for the continued protection of all DREAMers, those law-abiding young people who have come to this country — often through no choice of their own — and have grown up and been educated here. These are hardworking students, employees, and even members of the military who enrich and strengthen our communities. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) reflects our values as a country by offering 800,000 of these people the opportunity to gain a new freedom and security to work toward achieving their dreams, including getting an education and going to college, and to contribute to the country they call home. Eliminating DACA would drive them into the shadows, depleting our schools and our workforce of productive members of our society who simply yearn to pursue their dreams and fulfill their full potential. Boston’s educators remain as committed today as ever in continuing our work to protect and uplift all students, families, and communities. We remain steadfast in our efforts to ensure that we welcome and meet the needs of all children who walk through our doors, regardless of their race or immigration status. Day in and day out the principals, teachers and staff of the Boston Public Schools strive to create safe, welcoming and sustaining learning environments for all of our students.
While no current DACA beneficiaries will be immediately affected until March, the government is no longer granting any new requests until Congress takes action.
In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to provide support and learning opportunities for our educators and families so that the entire BPS community can stay informed. Please visit the BPS We Dream Together or the BTU Unafraid Educators websites for a complete list of resources, including updated information regarding DACA and the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship. People can also log onto the city’s website at boston.gov/immigrants and call the Mayor’s 24-hour hotline, “311,” to be directed to the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement for additional resources and information to help immigrants and their families.
Boston is a proud city of immigrants and BPS is a reflection of that diversity. As a district, our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students. We appreciate the trust that you put in us, and we will do everything we can to protect the rights of our BPS community, including those of our immigrant families and students.
Tommy Chang, Ed.D.