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Senate bills would provide permanent certainty and protection to aspiring Americans

Educators working in our nation’s public schools and students stand to benefit from Senate bills

WASHINGTON - March 26, 2019 -

The U.S. Senate today introduced bills aimed at providing permanent certainty and protection to aspiring Americans. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) unveiled the bipartisan Dream Act of 2019, which would grant legal status and a path to citizenship for individuals who arrived to the United States as minors. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) also introduced the SECURE Act, which would provide protections for individuals with humanitarian Temporary Protected Status (TPS)—granted to people from countries the U.S. has designated unsafe due to armed conflict, natural disaster, epidemic or other extraordinary conditions—as well as others. President Trump ended DACA in September 2017 and revoked TPS from hundreds of thousands of immigrants from seven countries over the past year.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“Educators working with students in our nation’s public schools deserve the permanent certainty and protection the legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate provide. The Senate bills uphold our values of welcoming immigrants and their countless contributions to our country. These DACAmented and TPS educators and Dreamers are also our students, our friends, and, yes, our colleagues. They have lived in America and have built their lives here. They contribute to our country in many ways. They are Americans in every way except on paper.

“Now is the time to turn the page on the politics of inaction for these aspiring Americans. For far too long now, Donald Trump and his allies have played dangerous political games with their lives. They have demonized them for political gain. This treatment is inhumane, cruel, and contrary to the values that we hold dear as a nation. This must stop now.

“The good news is that we now have Dreamer and TPS bills in the Senate. We commend Senators Durbin, Graham, Van Hollen, and Cardin for working to ensure Dreamers and TPS holders receive the permanent certainty and protections they deserve as long-standing contributing members of our communities. The Senate bills and the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this month— and likewise aimed at extending permanent protections to TPS holders and Dreamers—will go a long way to ensure the immigration system works for all of us.”

An updated analysis by the Migration Policy Institute shows that The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 could potentially provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 37,000 educators currently working in the nation’s public schools. Of those, about 33,000 are DACAmented educators and the rest are humanitarian TPS holders. To view the MPI updated analysis, click here.

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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. Learn more at


CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez