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Coalition of Charter Public Schools, Colleges, and Advocacy Organizations Speaks Out on Immigration

In a Letter to House and Senate Judiciary Committees, Nearly 100 Education Groups and Leaders Urge Congress to Support DACA Program and BRIDGE Act.

WASHINGTON, DC – A broad coalition of education organizations and non-profits has come out in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and its proposed successor, the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act. This coalition, brought together by leaders at the KIPP Foundation, includes nearly 100 charter public schools, advocacy organizations, institutions of higher learning, and others.

In February 2017, the coalition sent a letter to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. In it, coalition members urged policymakers to support legislation that would extend the protections of DACA, which provides temporary deportation relief and employment authorization for people brought to the U.S. without documentation as children. The letter focused on the bipartisan BRIDGE Act, which would maintain the protections of DACA for a limited period.

“We’ve made promises to children, that we will help them lead lives of choice and opportunity. These federal policies are making that outcome possible for thousands of students like ours,” said Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP. “The U.S. is the only home these young people have ever known, and they are eager to contribute as doctors, lawyers, teachers, and so much more. We owe it to them to extend these protections, so that they can work and study legally, and contribute their talents to our nation.” 

A 2015 survey from the National Immigration Law Center shows that 76 percent of DACA recipients work and 65 percent are in school; 92 percent said that DACA allowed them to pursue new educational opportunities. Before DACA, only 44 percent of these young people reported having jobs. Another survey of DACA students enrolled in college shows that students are pursuing education in a variety of institutions and programs, and that over a quarter are pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors.

“Charter schools serve students of all racial and cultural backgrounds including undocumented immigrants who have benefited from DACA,” said Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “We commend the lawmakers who have introduced the BRIDGE Act and look forward to working with them and the Administration to pave a safe and secure path for these immigrants to remain in the United States.”

“As public school educators and leaders of institutions of higher education, we feel it is our duty and responsibility to educate all children who enroll in our schools, regardless of their immigration status,” reads the coalition’s letter in part. “In doing so, we want to see all our students achieve their dreams to make our country as strong as it can be. To allow one important group of young people to do that, we ask you to spur the passage of the bipartisan BRIDGE Act.”

Signees include:

  • Charter Public Schools: Achievement First; IDEA Public Schools; KIPP
  • Higher Education Institutions: Emory University; Franklin & Marshall College; University of Notre Dame
  • Advocacy Organizations: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools; New Schools for New Orleans; Stand for Children
  • Education Leaders: Deborah Gist, Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools; Farley Herzek, President of Kingsborough Community College; Dr. Wallace D. Loh, President of the University of Maryland–College Park

Access the full letter and list of nearly 100 signees here.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.

About KIPP
KIPP is a non-profit network of college-preparatory, public charter schools educating elementary, middle, and high school students. KIPP schools are part of the free public school system and enrollment is open to all students. There are 200 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia educating nearly 80,000 students on their path to and through college, careers, and life. KIPP believes that great teachers and school leaders, a supportive learning environment, and an emphasis on both academics and character are the foundation for student success. KIPP students complete college at a rate that is above the national average for all students and four times higher than that of students from similar economic backgrounds.