Students, Teachers, Mathematics and DACA

Students, Teachers, Mathematics and DACA: What are some issues and opportunities?
Silvia Llamas-Flores, Kyndall Brown, and Carlos LópezLeiva
This blog provides information and resources for teachers, students, and the public in general, who are interested in understanding more about DACA and the students under this program. This information could be used to develop lessons to teach students about DACA, who are DACA students. This information can help deconstruct stereotypes on DACA students and immigrants in general. The information itself challenges readers and teachers to take action and advocate for TODOS/ALL students.  We ask some discussion questions throughout the blog and at the end. Please, participate in the discussion and share with us what you think. Gracias.  
What is DACA?
In 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program was put into place by the Obama administration to “lift the shadow of deportation” for children that were brought to the United States undocumented.  In order to request consideration for DACA, children must meet the following guidelines. 
·     Came to the United States when you were under 16
·     Are in school, have a high school diploma or GED
·     No criminal record
In addition to protecting young children from being deported, it allowed young adults to work legally in the United States.  Approximately 800,000 children and young adults received protection from deportation under DACA.
Discussion Questions / Resources
Supreme Court Decision on DACA:
In September of 2017, the Trump administration announced that it was rescinding the DACA program, putting at risk some 700,000 young undocumented immigrants for deportation.  Since then, several judges have ruled that the Trump administration had abused its discretion, and issued nationwide injunctions ordering the administration to keep key elements of the program.  As a result, the Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court in hopes of rescinding the DACA program in its entirety.
In early 2018, the Supreme Court declined the Trump administration’s appeal, thereby shielding “Dreamers” from immediate deportation.  So what does this mean for “Dreamers” already signed up for the DACA program?  For the time being, they are allowed to remain in the DACA program, which protects them from deportation, as well as allows them to keep working legally in the United States, although it is unclear what that timeframe looks like.   
The reality is that unless Congress takes meaningful action to address this issue, and the broader issue of immigration in the United States, this victory for Dreamers will be short-lived.  
Discussion Questions / Resources
Ways to Support Students and Teachers:
The uncertainty surrounding DACA during a time of racial tensions and can be daunting and frightening for many DACA students and their teachers.  While the recent Supreme Court decision to not hear arguments by the Trump administration about the constitutionality of DACA has provided a temporary victory for Dreamers, it has left Dreamers’ fate in limbo.  
As educators and advocates of ALL our students, it is important we provide support in as many ways possible.  This can range from mentoring to connecting students with various organizations that specialize in offering legal and other forms of support for Dreamers.  Below are some resources for teachers and students.
Discussion Questions / Resources
DACA/Immigration Fact Sheet:
Center for American Progress Survey of 3,063 DACA recipients in 46 states and D.C.
  • 72% of top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ DACA recipients
  • 97% of respondents are currently employed or enrolled in school
  • 8% of DACA recipients have started their own business
  • Respondents average hourly wage has increased 84% since receiving DACA
  • Of the 45% of respondents who are currently in school, 72% are pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher
Discussion Questions / Resources
  • UCSD, United We Dream, National Immigration Law Center
Immigrant Contributions to Counteract Stereotypes:
  • In 2014, immigrants earned $1.3 trillion and contributed $105 billion in local and nearly $224 billion in federal taxes
  • In 2014 immigrants had almost $927 billion in consumer spending
  • Undocumented immigrants contributed more than $11.6 billion in state and local taxes each year.
  • If the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants were given a pathway to citizenship or legal resident status, those tax contributions could rise by nearly $2 billion.
Discussion Questions / Resources
  • What are DACA students’ contributions to the U.S., and how can you use this information to develop a culturally responsive and socially just math lesson?
Looking Beyond DACA:
We need to see beyond the Supreme Court’s decision on DACA to be fair. This supportive decision is just a step up onto a more humane and fair way in the acknowledgement of human rights of DACA students and their families. It is because many other issues are still at stake. Below, we present some resources that address three major topics that often misguide audiences on who DACA students are.
Many fixed ideas about DACA students is that they are criminals. In fact, one of the main prerequisites to become a DACA student is to have no criminal record. Rather than criminals, we need to let ourselves learn about who DACA students are, so that limited understandings and perspectives on these students do not become the only way we see them.
  • Seeing DACA students as exclusively Latinx
Part of the limited perspective about understanding DACA students is thinking of this as a specific racial group (e.g., Latinx), when in fact, while this group of students shares similar experiences about displacement, immigration, and living in U.S. territory and society as home, they all come from diverse backgrounds.  
  • Viewing DACA students (and families) as an economic burden/challenge.
Recently, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities informed that 22 states faced revenue shortfall. At the same time, TIMES magazine informed that states with the highest shares of immigrant populations include: CA, TX, and NV. Interestingly, none of these states was near the breakdown of the 22 states listed with revenue shortfalls. These patterns confirm previous arguments on how immigrant populations nurture and support the economic growth. In fact, the slow rates of revenue shortfalls were linked to energy prices, and tax cuts, and tax collection growth. While these links need further exploration, DACA students represent a hard-working population that actively contributes to the betterment and growth of the U.S. society and economy. These levels of hard-work promote greater activation of growth, rather than simply “stealing” jobs away, as NPR reports, from U.S. citizens.
Discussion Questions / Resources
  • Click on blue text to access resources linked to the information on “Looking Beyond DACA”
  • How can mathematics help us deconstruct the misleading topics about DACA students presented in this section?
Critical Discussion Questions:
1 What can we do in our teaching practices to promote greater understanding of DACA students and the assets they bring to the classroom?
2 How can mathematics help us understand this issue better?
3 What else should we know about DACA students?
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