The end of DACA will affect thousands of teachers, too

The end of DACA will affect thousands of teachers, too

Teachers with DACA are a sizable but overlooked segment of the Dreamer population. Of the nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants with DACA, up to 20,000 of them could work as teachers.

“My students know I'm undocumented”: an estimated 20,000 teachers may be protected by DACA Univision

MIAMI, Florida – For Tomas Pendola, teaching high school chemistry is about much more than organic compounds and the periodic table. It’s an opportunity to provide an ear or offer advice to students that may not have anyone else to confide in.

The 25-year-old Argentine immigrant, who has been in the United States since he was 10, grew up without legal papers. He has protection from deportation and a work permit under the five-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. That's a fact he's never kept from his students.

"I've been very open about my status," Pendola told Univision News. "I believe kids always need someone to talk to outside of their home. I’ve had students tell me they’re undocumented, too."

Pendola, who came to the U.S. from Argentina during that country’s economic crisis in 2001, is one of nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants with DACA, known as dreamers. Some 20,000 of them may work as teachers, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.

Lea esta nota en español.

During his campaign for president, Donald Trump said he would immediately end the DACA program once in office and deport dreamers. But an announcement Thursday night signaled a reversal on that pledge, with the administration saying the Obama-era program would continue.

That came as something of a relief to teachers wrapping up this school year and beginning to think about the next.

But Pendola says he's still weary. "It's nice to see [Trump] say it," he says. "But that doesn’t mean he necessarily had a change of heart."


Teachers with DACA are a sizable but overlooked segment of the dreamer population. Often drawn to the profession as a way to give back to the society that raised them, these teachers have drawn the attention of advocacy organizations like the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers, which seek to honor their role in classrooms and protect them from deportation.

"These teachers bring extra value to immigrant communities because they know the community’s stressors," says Rocío Inclán, the director of the Human & Civil Rights Department at the NEA. “They contribute with their culture, their language, their personal experience. Students and families trust these teachers.”

Though it’s impossible to know the exact number of teachers with DACA because the federal government does not track that information, the Migration Policy Institute estimates that in 2016, California employed the most DACA teachers of any state, at an estimated 5,000. New York and Texas were home to an estimated 2,000 each. Other states with sizable populations of these teachers were Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Illinois, Florida, Maryland and Arizona.

Twenty-five-year-old teacher Areli Zarate arrived to Austin, Texas, from Mexico when she was eight-years-old. Growing up, she did not share her undocumented status with anyone, not even her best friend.

But then came DACA in 2012. Zarate attended the University of Texas at Austin and studied to become an educator. Now she teaches Spanish and facilitates a class dedicated to first-generation students to prepare them for college. She estimates than some 80 percent of her students are Hispanic. Many are undocumented or from mixed-status families.

"I see my impact. As Latinos, when we have a Latino teacher we look up to them. We want to be like them. I talk to my students about continuing school, the importance of getting educated, appreciating their parents. I tell them 'I went to college, you can do it too.'"

In the months before the election, Zarate volunteered at "DACA clinics" in Austin, assisting anyone completing the lengthy paperwork to apply for DACA. But those clinics were put on pause after Trump won the election and the future of DACA was called into question.

Katherine Huete Galeano, 24, an undocumented special education teacher on the southwest side of Chicago, said that after the election her seventh and eighth grade students were worried about losing their teacher. "We had a conversation about me possibly having to leave the school or not be able to work anymore if DACA is removed," she says.

With the Trump administration's Thursday announcement, Zarate says she feels comfortable encouraging people in her community once again to apply for DACA. But, still, "it’s not enough," she says.

"We needed him to come out and say it, but with this presidency we feel DACA is not something we have secure," she says.

The document released Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security does not flesh out the administration's view on DACA, says Viridiana Carrizales, who heads a program of support for Teach for America's 200 alumni and current teachers with DACA status.

"I’m trying to make sense of the mixed messages," Carrizales says. "For now, many of our teachers and family members with DACA won't have to worry. But for how long? We really don’t know."


There have been a number of reports in recent months of people with DACA being detained and deported. On February 18, DACA recipient Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez was deported from California to Mexico in what is believed to be the first such case.

Other cases include that of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a DACA recipient in Seattle who was detained for over a month, and Daniela Vargas, arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, after speaking at a press conference to urge Trump to protect people like her. Both were eventually released.

“Will the detentions stop?” Carrizales adds. “Now more than ever we need to make sure our community knows its rights. We should be very cautious.”

For now, Pendola says he’s taking life one day at a time. He hopes to be able to remain in the U.S., and maybe even pursue a PhD in chemistry. But he’s also considered another possibility: being forced to move back to Argentina, a place he hasn’t been in 15 years.

“One thing I’ve learned from being undocumented is that things can always change,” he says. “I never know what’s going to happen.”

Portraits of immigrants seeking compassion in the Trump era
Un grupo de dreamers en un taller sobre cómo solicitar DACA en Los Ángel...
Thanks to DACA, Dreamers have higher salaries, more education access
A new study found that a majority of executive action beneficiaries got better paying jobs and saw average hourly wages increase 42 percent.
Laura Isais y Oscar Álvarez comparten sus experiencias sobre la carga em...
Dreamer stress in the age of Donald Trump
Stress, depression and anxiety have ballooned among undocumented students at the University of California at Berkeley this election season. ‘Healing circles’ are one effective therapy.
A search for the word 'deportation' on platforms like GoFundMe and YouCaring brings up hundreds of people raising money to support family members and friends.
After the Trump administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation, French artist JR led a project that captured portraits of Dreamers across the U.S. Two photo-booth trucks made several stops so that undocumented youth could add their faces to the series. Univision News followed the journey.
Pedro is one of thousands of undocumented immigrants who work in chicken processing plants in Gainesville, Georgia. In a county where police work in tandem with immigration authorities and more than 72% of citizens voted for Donald Trump, many immigrants live in fear.
Presidents don't usually pardon criminals until they have been sentenced or have at least expressed some regret, but this was not the case with Arpaio, who spoke to Univision News two weeks after being forgiven by his ally, Donald Trump.
During a meeting in the Oval office Friday, the president was asked by reporters about the future of DACA, to which he responded that a decision was coming soon. "We love the dreamers, we love everyone," he added.
Nilsa Huete is an undocumented Honduran immigrant living in Key West, Florida. In the last five months, five of her family members have been arrested by agents from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Now she’s fighting against the deportation of her daughter and brother.
The former Arizona sheriff pardoned by President Trump is one of the most unpopular figures in the Hispanic community. For 24 years he was sheriff of the fourth largest county in the country and was convicted in July 2017 of ignoring a court order to stop his officers from racial profiling of Hispanics.
The former Republican presidential candidate says a Senate immigration proposal that would cut immigration in half is flawed, but he backs idea of merit-based points system.
The footage shows a man wearing a badge, apparently from the local sheriff’s department, and claiming to be bail bonds agent. A lawyer then rebukes and questions his authority.
Maty Muy, a Guatemalan immigrant, went to renew her work permit at an ICE office and ended up facing a nightmare. Authorities placed a GPS monitor on her ankle and sent her husband to a detention facility. Now, she has taken over the family business – a tire and auto repair shop – while facing deportation.
Maty Muy, una inmigrante guatemalteca, fue a renovar un permiso de trabajo a una oficina de ICE y acabó viviendo una pesadilla: le pusieron un grillete y a su esposo lo detuvieron. Ahora, cambia llantas y lucha para evitar la deportación.
This is what Greek artist Eleni means when she speaks about the power of the voice. She improvises a sing-along with a group of immigrants, refugees and allies in Boston's Urbano Project and the result was just beautiful.
Eleni Arapoglou uses new sounds and rhythms to preserve her roots. Eleni is part of the U-Lab 'Immigrant Sounds' sessions that celebrate World Refugee Day and Immigrant Heritage Month.
There has always been movement of people, and as we commemorate World Refugee Day on June 20th a group of musicians, activists and community members got together at The Urbano Project​ in Boston to share their experiences and reflect on the diversity that makes up American society: "The direction of where the world is going is encouraging us all, almost forcing us all, to break down those walls."
La cantante Eleni interpreta 'Milo mou kai mantarini', grabada en exclusiva para U-LAB Music como parte de las sesiones 'Immigrant Sounds' en honor al Mes de la Herencia del Inmigrante y al Día Mundial del Refugiado. Featuring Vasilis Kostas en el laúd.
Artist Nora Valdez and youth in the Boston community are sharing their stories one suitcase at a time at The Urbano Project. At U-LAB Music we documented their process as part of our 'Immigrant Sounds' series.
Cómo pasa el tiempo: el famoso 'Ludoviquito P. Luche' ya creció y se va a casar
Nos sorprendimos al entrarnos que el actor José Miguel Pérez, famoso por su papel del hijo menor de 'La Familia P. Luche', ya no es un niño. Es más, acaba de pedirle a su novia que se case con él. ¿Será que invite a su boda a Eugenio Derbez, creador de la serie que lo hizo famoso?
Dulce reto para Mau y Ricky: ¿quién de los dos prepara la mejor malteada?
Jessy Rodríguez les lanzó un reto a estos jóvenes cantautores, horas antes de su gran presentación en la 30 entrega del Premio Lo Nuestro. Y ya entrados en la plática, ambos le confesaron varios secretos a nuestra reportera.
Mientras jóvenes piden control a la venta de armas, miembros de la NRA defienden el derecho a portar estos artefactos
Luis Quiñones, miembro de la Asociación Nacional del Rifle y veterano de guerra, dice que la iniciativa de los jóvenes no es la solución para prevenir tragedias como la ocurrida en la escuela de Parkland. Por su parte, la venezolana Gabriela Franco, asegura que la confidencialidad de los médicos que atienden pacientes con problemas mentales no ayuda a detener a los potenciales pistoleros.
Esto respondió Paquita la del Barrio al preguntarle si volvería a salir de gira con Lupita D'Alessio
La intérprete de 'Rata de dos patas' regresa a los escenarios tras un breve descanso, y lo hará en la famosa Feria de Texcoco, en México. Y al cuestionarle si volvería a compartir escenario con la 'Leona Dormida', no dudó en responder sinceramente.
Menor de 6 años denuncia que el novio de su mamá lo golpeó y lo metió al refrigerador
La Policía de Chandler indicó que la abuela del niño lo recogió en una casa el 13 de febrero para llevarlo a la escuela cuando notó algo extraño y descubrió lo ocurrido tras cuestionar al menor.
El Hennessey Camaro ZL1 'El Exorcista' establece récord de 217 mph
Gracias a sus 1,000 caballos de fuerza es uno de los carros más rápidos del mundo, más que un Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 o un McLaren 720S. Todo por 120,000 dólares.
¿Cómo reaccionar ante el coqueteo de otra persona a su pareja?
La psicóloga Myriam Balbela dice que, si la situación es muy evidente, es recomendable acercarse a la persona y pedir respeto. Explica que se debe evitar culpar a la pareja por lo que está ocurriendo.
Hennessey Camaro ZL1 ‘El Exorcista’, el ‘muscle car’ más rápido del mundo
Solo se construirán 100 unidades de este carro con 1,000 caballos de fuerza y una velocidad máxima de 217 mph.
El caso de Elizabeth Swaney, la 'Germán Madrazo' de ¿EEUU?: ¿trampa o espíritu olímpico?
Nacida en EEUU, pero representando a Hungría, Elizabeth Swaney llamó la atención por una rutina prácticamente recreativa en el halfpipe de JJOO.
¡Golazo de Ezequiel Barco! El crack argentino abrió su cuenta con Atlanta United en la pretemporada
Además, Philadelphia Union aplastó por 5-0 a Montréal Impact mientras se acerca el final de la preparación para la MLS 2018.
Filtran el segundo uniforme de México para el Mundial de Rusia 2018
Es una indumentaria destacan el color blanco y unas líneas horizontales a la altura del pecho, las cuales que forman el tradicional tricolor.
Ya se dio a conocer el segundo uniforme de México para el Mundial de Rusia 2018
La indumentaria en la que destaca el color blanco y unas líneas horizontales a la altura del pecho, las cuales que forman el clásico tricolor, se filtró por las redes sociales.