Lindsay Unified School Board discusses moves to show support of undocumented learners in late threat the DACA program

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By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

LINDSAY – The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has swept both conservative and liberal parties into a frenzy. DACA has offered work authorization and a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation to unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and met specific eligibility requirements. And, while conservatives and liberals are fighting for their partisan cause, the Lindsay Unified School District (LUSD) Board of Trustees isn’t taking sides, but is fighting to have their students’ concerns heard.

During their Sept. 11 board meeting board member Perla Soria introduced a discussion item over DACA. She said that she wanted to bring attention to what some of the “dreamers” in the district were feeling. Dreamers is the nickname given to undocumented college students named after the California Dream Act which allows them to apply for state-funded financial aid.

Soria added that she wanted to see if there was a way that the board could contact congressmen Devin Nunes and David Valadeo, who represent Lindsay and nearby towns where Lindsay learners live.

Soria added that the district sent out information to student households to notify them what the district is doing while adding contact information for their congressman.  She said that she hopes residents contact their congressman to inform them on what they want their representative to do over DACA.

The board instructed superintendent Tom Rooney to draft a letter to both McCarthy and Nunes to notify them of the board’s feelings over DACA and how it effects their students. Soria said that the letter will be turned into a resolution for the board to pass.

The letter discussed on Monday informs Nunes and Valadeo that the district serves a large number of Hispanic students and “some of them who are fearful of what will become of them and their families should DACA be rescinded.”

The letter also makes the plea that the rescission of DACA “will deny our schools and communities many very bright and highly motivated learners, parents and staff who are making invaluable contribution to our cities and states.”

The letter closes by saying, “We are counting on you [Congressmen Nunes and Valadeo] to support comprehensive immigration reform that provides a just and equitable solution to this very important issue.”

LUSD’s resolution, also considered on Monday, resolves that the Congress including the California delegation work with President Donald Trump to enact legislation prior to March 2018. The district outlines in the resolution that DACA will be eliminated by next March unless Congress acts to replace it. The resolution states as well that legislation should continue at a minimum the “existing DACA program and provide DACA recipients with a pathway to permanent residence and eventually to U.S. Citizenship.”

In Mineral King Podcasting Company’s The Paper Trail Podcast, episode 9, the issue was addressed in an interview with history and political science professor Stephen Tootle who currently teaches at College of the Sequoias (COS). The podcast also introduced one local DACA recipient, Jessica Macias-Mercado, who is a student at COS. The episode delves into the history of citizenship in the United States and what the process is for a DACA recipient to achieve legal status. The Paper Trail Podcast can be found at iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play and a full list of episodes can also be found at papertrailpod.com.

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