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Powerful Column a Reminder That Thousands of DREAMers are Working as Teachers, Thanks to DACA 

For Immediate Release: February 12, 2020

Contact: Michael Earls at 202-494-8555 and [email protected]


Powerful Column a Reminder That Thousands of DREAMers are Working as Teachers, Thanks to DACA 


Washington, DC – A powerful Washington Post column by Max Boot, “Our kids are losing one of their best teachers — because he’s a ‘Dreamer’” offers a reminder of why Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) is a popular and successful program that benefits all of America.


Carlo Barrera, a popular science teacher and soccer coach at a New York City K-8 school, is one of the 16,000 DREAMers with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status who are working in education, including thousands as teachers. As the column describes, Barrera has decided to leave his teaching position due to uncertainty and fears surrounding the precarious status of DACA and the inability of Congress to pass a legislative alternative.


The anxiety and uncertainty facing Carlo and hundreds of thousands of his fellow DACA recipients is very real, as are their incredible contributions to classrooms and workplaces across America. If the Supreme Court rules that the Trump administration lawfully ended DACA, DREAMers will likely be able to work until their employment authorization document (work permit) expires. But their future after that is uncertain.


According to Don Graham, co-founder of TheDream.US, “Nearly 700,000 DREAMers, including thousands of teachers, rely on DACA to strengthen their own lives and the communities around them. Their stories remind us why DREAMers’ futures and opportunities should be protected – by maintaining DACA and passing legislation to provide citizenship for DREAMers.”


Below, find are two other stories of DACA teachers – both former TheDream.US Scholars – followed by excerpts from the powerful column focused on Carlo Barrera:


  • Ahead of last November’s Supreme Court arguments about the future of DACA, TheDream.US released a video featuring Marisela, a TheDream.US Scholar graduate now working as an elementary school teacher. As she noted in the video, “I would tell the Supreme Court to let me do my job. I love my job. I love my students. I love my school. I love my community. DACA has benefited the US because a new generation of professionals are ready to serve the country that they love.” Watch a 2-minute version of Marisela’s story here


  • Oscar Hernandez is a DACA recipient, a former TheDream.US scholar and graduate of Arizona State University, and an Arizona public school teacher through the Teach for America program. In a recent profile published by INSIGHT into Diversity, Oscar stated: “Having experienced extreme unpredictability at the hands of politicians, my fellow DREAMers and I are resilient and ready to face whatever hardships lie ahead of us. Employers should know that they can count on us to work hard despite the adversity that could lie ahead. At my lowest point, DACA liberated me from my fears and gave me the ability to envision plans for myself.


Excerpts from Max Boot’s column, “Our kids are losing one of their best teachers — because he’s a ‘Dreamer”


“If you’re a U.S. citizen, news about the “dreamers” — the nearly 700,000 people who were brought to the United States illegally as young children — can seem distant and unimportant. But the price of not protecting them became clear to me recently when one of the most popular teachers at my stepsons’ school announced that he would be leaving in the middle of the year because he needed to prepare for a future in which he could get deported.


Many of the kids cried when they heard the news about Carlo Barrera, a 27-year-old science teacher and soccer coach at the Speyer Legacy School, a private K-8 school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My kids tell me that “Coach B” is one of the most beloved figures at Speyer — and it’s easy to see why. As he walks down the hallway, he has a hug or an encouraging word for everyone he meets. He radiates energy and enthusiasm. He is not just a teacher but also a mentor and friend. So why is he now forced to abandon a job he is so good at?


…Barrera fears the conservative-majority court will rule against the dreamers, and that Republicans in the Senate will prevent the passage of a law to protect them. If so, it could leave him vulnerable to deportation.


… It’s not as though the United States has an overabundance of highly skilled, highly dedicated educators. We need all the great teachers we can get. Now, the teaching profession has lost a bright light because of the perverse xenophobia of the Trump administration. Barrera has met other dreamers who are doctors, lawyers and other successful professionals. It makes no sense, either as a matter of justice or economics, to evict them from a country they have come to call their own. Deporting the dreamers hurts not only them but the whole country. The House has already passed legislation protecting the dreamers. It’s imperative that the Senate follow suit.”


TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided more than 5,000 scholarships to students with DACA and TPS at more than 70 partner colleges in 15 states and Washington, DC.