Denver schools chief: Removing DACA protections for undocumented immigrants would be ‘catastrophic’

Rolling back protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children would prove “catastrophic” for Denver Public Schools and the city, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg said in a statement Thursday.

Boasberg joined other school and community leaders from across the country in speaking up as President Donald Trump is expected to announce any day the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA.

“Our schools and our community are strengthened by our city’s rich diversity and open arms,” Boasberg said. “The DACA program has helped bring wonderfully talented and critically needed teachers to our classrooms and has provided peace of mind and legal status to thousands of immigrant children and families who make our city and our schools great.”

“We at the Denver Public Schools stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these children and families; we join their call for respect and appreciation for the contributions they make to our community; and we join other cities across this great country in resolute opposition to any effort to curtail the DACA program that would cruelly rip the American Dream from their grasp.”

DPS describes itself as the first school district in the nation to hire teachers under DACA. Last year after Trump’s election, Chalkbeat profiled three Denver educators who are in classrooms because of the policy’s safeguards.

President Obama created DACA by executive action in 2012 to give protections, but not citizenship, for two years at a time to undocumented immigrants who came here as children.

DPS officials have been vocal about immigrant rights since Trump’s election. The district produced a fact sheet in four languages answering immigration questions posed by anxious students and families, assured families that the district will protect students’ constitutional rights and teamed with the Mexican consulate to reinforce that message.

The Aurora school board in May approved a statement aimed at helping immigrant students feel safer.