For months, President Donald Trump promised to treat young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” with “heart.”
But for teacher Jose Gonzales, the steps Trump took this week to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—or DACA—are heart-wrenching.
The day after the Trump administration’s announcement to rescind DACA, an Obama-era program that shields some young immigrants from deportation, Gonzalez—an undocumented immigrant himself—faced classrooms full of middle school students terrified that either they or relatives could face immediate deportation.
Roughly 250,000 school-age children have become DACA-eligible since President Barack Obama began the program five years ago, the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute estimates.
Millions more students in the nation’s public and private schools are the children of undocumented immigrants, according to the Washington-based Pew Research Center.
Those numbers—and the stories behind them—define Gonzalez’s work.
A math teacher in Southern California’s immigrant-rich San Fernando Valley, Gonzalez said many of his adolescent students have lived in constant fear since Election Day because of their immigration status, or that of their parents.
As he tried to explain to colleagues what the end of DACA could mean for him and his students, he said he trembled as tears streamed down his face.
“There’s a lot of confusion. I’ve acknowledged that, shared with them how I’m feeling, and acknowledged that it’s OK to be scared,” Gonzalez said.
“To put all of that pressure of everything that is happening on the shoulders of a 10- or 11-year-old, I can’t even imagine.”
Read the whole story at Education Week.