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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

September 7, 2017

As you know, President Trump indicated he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States as children, and who have pursued education or served in the military, and who have avoided conviction. This means that as soon as March, some members of our community could be eligible for deportation. In the interim he has called on Congress to act.

I have said before and will say again: we have a responsibility to ensure that all of our students feel safe and supported. Under Federal law, undocumented children and young adults have the same right to attend and enjoy public primary and secondary schools as do U.S. citizens and permanent residents (Plyler vs. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982.). And, under state law, all Vermont children, including undocumented children are required to attend school until the mandated age of 16. (Please see 16 V.S.A. §1075(f) which defines residence for school purposes of alien, immigrant or refugee children in Vermont.)

Meeting this obligation means going beyond telling families to enroll their student(s). It includes working proactively to ensure these children feel safe, supported and welcomed.

This occurs when we create school cultures that are responsive to the needs of the children in our care, and our families. These children are our responsibility, and they count on us to provide them care and education, in a world in which they have almost no control over their own circumstances. Like these children, many of our ancestors arrived in this country as children with uncertain status. All evidence suggests that these children will grow up to be productive citizens who are educated and contribute to our communities and economic growth. In a state in which one of our biggest challenges to economic growth is that we cannot find enough workers to fill existing jobs, there is no evidence to support the claim that these children will deny Vermonters jobs.

Read the full memo on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.