Earlier this year, I featured an excerpt from a piece written by Mike Stein about Tennessee’s Attorney General, Herb Slatery, and his support for ending the DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – program.
Stein notes that while Slatery joined with Attorneys General in several other states in sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for an end to DACA (and threatening a lawsuit), the conservative CATO Institute actually supports maintaining DACA for its economic benefits.
Now that some reports suggest President Trump may be taking action to end DACA, let’s look at who Herb Slatery would have deported.
Chalkbeat had this report of a Nashville student-turned-educator who is also a beneficiary of the DACA program:
Ruiz knows what it’s like to live with uncertainty about his future.
His mother brought him to the United States to give him a better shot at graduating from high school and going to college, which she hadn’t been able to do in Mexico.
He attended public schools in Nashville, where he mastered English by the third grade.
When DACA was announced during his freshman year at Trevecca, Ruiz applied on the very first day. “DACA was an avenue for me to work hard and do what I wanted with that,” he said. “It made me feel in control and empowered.”
After graduating with a degree in history, Ruiz applied to Teach For America and was assigned to an elementary school in Denver. Realizing that his passion is working with high school students, he moved this year to STRIVE Prep Excel, a charter high school where he teaches Spanish.
For background, here’s how Chalkbeat describes DACA:
The policy gives protections, but not citizenship, for two years at a time to undocumented immigrants who came here as children.
Carlos Ruiz was brought to Nashville at age 6. He didn’t ask to come here. He didn’t deliberately evade the nation’s laws. He attended public schools in Nashville. He graduated from a college in Nashville. He decided to become a teacher.
Slatery sent a letter TODAY to Tennessee’s U.S. Senators announcing he’s pulling Tennessee out of litigation over DACA. Specifically, Slatery notes:
There is a human element to this, however, that is not lost on me and should not be ignored. Many of the DACA recipients, some of whose records I reviewed, have outstanding accomplishments and laudable ambitions, which if achieved, will be of great benef,rt and service to our country. They have an appreciation for the opportunities afforded them by our country.
The sad reality is that our Congress hasn’t taken a serious look at immigration reform that would address situations like Ruiz’s. Until they do, DACA provides protection for the children of immigrants. Children like Carlos Ruiz who has decided to take the opportunity he was given and serve others.
Slatery’s letter calls for legislative solution – seemingly in direct opposition to the Trump Administration’s position.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport
*An earlier version of this story did not include details of Slatery’s letter released today.