Superintendent Richard Carranza participated in a live town hall meeting at UH Downtown on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, assuring those in attendance that HISD schools are a safe place for all students – regardless of their immigration status.
The meeting, sponsored by ABC13 and Univision 45, was a non-partisan conversation on Monday night between students and five local panelists about the program and the impact of DACA’s suspension to the city and its residents.
Carranza said there is an estimated 1,500 seniors in HISD who are DACA students, but there may be more since the data is not tracked. He added that the district is providing resources and counseling to those students, many of whom have college and career aspirations. Carranza also reassured students that the district is also busy advocating at the state and national level on the issue.
“I want to reiterate … as a school district, we will not allow students to be pulled from our schools,” Carranza said. “Over my dead body will a student be taken out of our school district because of an immigration raid.”
DACA recipients whose status is set to expire in the next six months will lose their protection from deportation and their work permit this year under the plan to start phasing out the program – unless they reapply for a two-year renewal by Oct. 5.
The Department of Homeland Security will no longer consider new applications for legal status and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it was rejecting all new DACA requests and employment authorization document (EAD) applications received after the Sept. 5 memo.
ABC13 and Univision 45 moderated the event, which also included United We Dream’s Oscar Hernandez, Baker Ripley managing attorney Jill Campbell, St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance program director Zenobia Lai, and Dawn McCarty from UHD’s social work department. Questions from UHD students were submitted anonymously and read by their peers.