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NEA: Educators welcome White House’s administrative action to keep families together

Bold action brings out of the shadows of society millions of aspiring Americans

WASHINGTON - November 20, 2014 -

President Barack Obama today announced that he will take administrative action to keep families together as a direct result of Congressional inaction to reform our nation’s broken immigration system.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:

“After years of waiting in the shadows of society, today millions of aspiring new Americans are a step closer to reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the bold administrative decision to keep families together taken by President Barack Obama. This action is necessary and has precedent as previous presidents from both sides of the political aisle have taken similar administrative relief actions on immigration.

“We know that this decision will shield from deportation families seeking to stay together, add to the rich and robust cultural tapestry of our country, contribute to our economy, and pursue the American dream.

“More to the point, this is the morally right thing to do for our students and their families. Educators know from experience that family unity plays a critical role in student success. Yet a growing number of public school students live in fear that our nation’s immigration policies will break up their families, forcing them to choose between their country and their loved ones. Keeping families together is essential to keeping America strong.

“That’s why we welcome the president’s proposal to expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the immigration policy tool that helps DREAMer-eligible students and their families stay together. Since its inception two years ago, DACA has kept an estimated 700,000 students and their families together. Expanding DACA will lift the cloud of deportation from the lives of many more aspiring Americans across the nation.

“While we welcome this necessary action, we still have a long way to go. This is only a temporary fix. We need something permanent. As a country, we have an obligation to do what is morally right and just and bring about comprehensive immigration reform now. We urge Congress to pass a comprehensive bill that creates a pathway to citizenship for the more than 11 million aspiring Americans; continues to preserve the unity of family, traditional and untraditional; and includes the DREAM Act and DACA.

“Educators will continue to push to end the harmful paralysis in the U.S. House of Representatives and demand swift action on comprehensive immigration reform. Political posturing and threats should not shatter the lives and dreams of children and families. Congress can make or break their dreams.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.


Contact: Miguel A. Gonzalez