School district reassures student DACA recipients, families

By Nicholas Johnson | Sep 20, 2017

As students in Mukilteo started a new school year earlier this month, President Donald Trump announced plans to end the 2012 DACA program that has protected from deportation more than 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

Soon after, the Mukilteo School District released a statement about DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – in an effort to quell “a great deal of anxiety” among students, families and staff members.

“It is our mission to provide for the success of every student,” the statement reads. “We are committed to educating all of our children, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, country of origin, or immigration status.”

President Trump’s executive order of January that banned people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. also caused anxiety among the district’s diverse student population.

Superintendent Marci Larsen previously issued a statement in February assuring students and families that nothing would change in the way they are treated at school. That message remains the same now, according to the statement.

“To be clear, a student’s immigration status has absolutely nothing to do with any of the services he or she can receive at school,” the statement reads. “In fact, federal law and a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court actually forbids school districts from even asking a student about his or her immigration status.”

Citing the fact that the district serves a diverse student body, with some 91 different languages being spoken in student homes, the district’s statement called it “a gift to be educating students from around the world.”

The statement also claims the district has a moral and legal obligation to serve all children, regardless of national origin or immigration status, citing the state’s constitution.

“As always, we will do everything within our power to make sure that all of our students and their families are welcomed and respected at our schools, and that all children will be safe, valued and honored while in our care.”

Upon announcing the end of DACA earlier this month, the Trump administration said it would only consider renewal applications from recipients whose work permits expire between Sept. 5 and March 5, 2018, and have been accepted by Oct. 5. Current DACA recipients can retain their work permits and deferred deportation until they expire.

A local effort to help DACA recipients renew their work permits is offering a free renewal clinic from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, in the Jackson Conference Center at Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St. For more information about that, see the calendar listing in Around Town on page 7.

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