With the end of DACA, how do we support our immigrant students? by UEA President Heidi Matthews

Dear fellow teachers,

I was saddened today by President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that is vital to the well-being of nearly 800,000 young people who arrived in the United States as children.

To me, it’s personal. I’ve known and taught students documented under this program. This program provided hope and the opportunity for these students to move on to college and successful careers. What happens to these young people now? Where is the hope and opportunity?

I believe ending DACA is shortsighted. These young people didn’t choose to come to the United States. Their parents brought them here as infants or young children. Their adopted country is the only home they have ever known. They have studied and achieved here. They are Utah students. Some are teachers to Utah students. They have fought in our military and they love our country. They want and deserve to remain here. DACA provides a path for them to continue to be taxpayers and productive contributors to our communities and American society.

I sent the following statement to the media urging our legislators to reauthorize DACA:

“We urge members of Utah’s Congressional delegation to act quickly to reauthorize the DACA program and remove the uncertainty plaguing the lives of law-abiding, productive young people, including thousands here in Utah. To end this successful program and make these young people subject to deportation would be cruel and short-sighted.

“Here in Utah we welcome those willing to work hard and contribute. Our hardworking Utah teachers, some of whom themselves are benefitting from the DACA program, welcome students of all backgrounds. When we embrace our students’ talents and honor their contributions, the future is brighter for all of us. Ending DACA violates these core Utah values.

“Now more than ever, we need a permanent legislative solution to DACA so these young people have the certainty they deserve. Congress should not wait six months to permanently fix this decision but instead act immediately to protect DACA recipients and Dreamers, and pass into law the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017.”

More resources on supporting immigrant students are available here.

I encourage you to join me as we continue to raise our voices in a collective chorus for justice to defend and protect “Dreamers” and their families.


Heidi Matthews
UEA President