In response to the decision by the Trump administration to delay the recision of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on September 5, 2017 Tucson Vice-Mayor Regina Romero joined forces with Tucson Unified School District officials to offer legal assistance to those in need.
Vice-Mayor Romero along with her husband Ruben Reyes, Senior District Advisor for Congressman Raul Grijalva, Grijalva’s daughter Adelita, a Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) board member, fellow board member Kristel Foster, and newly appointed TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo were on hand for first of many DREAMers (DACA recipients) assistance events planned. According to Romero’s Facebook post, “there was a huge turnout.” Romero noted that similar events will be held every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Dr. Trujillo, who has strived to be far more responsive than his predecessors, told the ADI in an email Sunday night, “Additional parent meetings have been scheduled for Cholla and possibly Tucson High this week and next. It has been brought to my attention that an anti-law enforcement sign at the Pueblo meeting has been circulating on social media. We value our relationships with the PCSO and TPD and will ensure that all such signage and messaging is prohibited in any upcoming parent forums at our schools.”
It is illegal for schools to inquire as to a student’s legal status. Despite this, TUSD officials implied in an advisory to parents that a resolution passed by the board in 2016 was providing safety. Concerns arose as to whether the district’s message had caused more fear than it assuaged.
Dr. Trujillo wrote that the parent meeting “was hastily arranged and not thoroughly advertised due to the urgency of trying to get the appropriate information to parents for the purpose of preventing any additional “walk outs” or decisions from parents to pull kids out of schools. Several schools around the district as well as neighborhood associations are also planning informational sessions. My impression of the event was that it was informative and hopefully will serve to prevent any drastic decision making as an overreaction to the Tuesday decision.”
Romero has called for Tucsonans to “continue to resist” the “political pressure and threats from conservative government officials across the country” who have “jeopardized this program and negatively impacted the lives of nearly 800,000 DREAMers.”
The DACA program was established through an executive order by President Barack Obama in 2012. According to Rep. Grijalva, “In Arizona alone, there are nearly 28,000 DACA recipients.”
“It is heartbreaking and infuriating that the Trump Administration has taken action to end the protection of these individuals while engaging in political pandering and scapegoating to stoke feelings of fear, contempt and divisiveness,” said Romero in a press release.
Romero and many others believe that Trump’s decision to force Congress to pass meaningful immigration has effectively ended the DACA program. Congress has for years failed to act and there is no reason to believe that anything has changed.
“In 2010 I led the effort to bring a vote of support for the DREAM Act to the Tucson City Council, which was approved by a 6-1 vote,” said Romero in the press release. She reiterated her support for “DACA and for the immigrants across this nation working hard and aspiring to the American Dream.”
“The future of DREAMers is at stake – and it is up to Congress to find a viable alternative to the dismantling of this program before March 5, 2018 (6 months from today) or we will see hundreds of thousands of our immigrant brothers and sisters deported from this country or returned to living in fear.” She concluded, “I am urging all Tucsonans to reach out to their Congressional representatives and make your voices heard – we demand protection for all DREAMers and will not stand for the division of our community.”
At the same time Congress avoided immigration reform, officials at TUSD have tolerated substandard education practices at Pueblo High School. In the past, parents who are currently undocumented with undocumented children attending Pueblo told the ADI that they believed that district and school officials were aware of their undocumented status. As a result, the parents alleged that school officials had confidence that their undocumented status would prevent them from reporting poor practices to authorities.