The American Federation of Teachers Local 212 at Milwaukee Area Technical College responded to President Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects from deportation more than 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
Dr. Lisa Conley, Local 212 president and Life Sciences instructor, said, “The Trump administration’s decision to throw 800,000 young people out of this country is an outright betrayal of our nation’s democratic values. The young people targeted by this action are American in every way that matters. They are our students, neighbors, friends and co-workers. They serve in the armed forces and are an important part of the American labor force. The DACA protections were implemented because, like the generations of immigrants that came before them, these young people make meaningful contributions to the nation that is their home.”
Independent studies estimate that the cost of ending DACA will reduce the U.S. economy by $433 billion over the next decade. Medicare and Social Security contributions would drop by $24.6 billion. Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies including AT& T, General Electric, Intel, Google and Apple were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. These firms employ 1.6 million people and generate $1.6 trillion in income. DACA beneficiaries are teachers, doctors, nurses, welders, skilled tradesmen, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
“President Trump made a promise that he would treat Dreamers with ‘great heart, ‘’said Kevin Mulvenna, the Executive Vice President of Local 212. “He has now broken that promise. Betraying DACA Dreamers is betraying the values of our diverse nation and its tradition inscribed on the Statue of Liberty that declares, ”‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses; Yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.’”
“There is nothing orderly about terrorizing 800,000 hard- working young people who for all practical purposes are American,” said Dr. Conley, whose mother was an immigrant from Finland. “Our country will not be stronger or more secure when these young people are thrown out of the country that they have grown up in, love and call their own. America will be diminished—and the toll will be measured by families ripped apart, people cast into the shadows and into poverty, businesses upended, economies weakened and dreams shattered. Local 212 will continue to fight to protect undocumented students- including those who attend the Milwaukee Area Technical College- refugees, individuals with temporary protective status and their families from the threat of deportation. A nation built by immigrants should welcome those in pursuit of the American dream, not scapegoat and attack them.”
The AFT Local 212/MATC represents Milwaukee Area Technical College’s 1500 faculty, counselors, professional staff and early childhood educators.