Education Week - April 13, 2016 - (Page 17)
Shield From Deportation Threat to Get Day at High Court
in immigration case
By Mark Walsh
Educators and immigration activists are weighing in on a hot-button
case up for argument at the U.S. Supreme Court next week with broad
implications for millions of undocumented immigrant parents, their
children, and schools.
The April 18 oral arguments in
United States v. Texas (Case No. 15674) will consider the legality of an
Obama administration program
that would protect from deportation and give work authorization to
some 3.6 million undocumented immigrant parents of children who are
U.S. citizens or lawful permanent
Although the legal issues concern
the authority of the administration
to issue the guidance for Deferred
Action for Parents of Americans,
or DAPA, the justices are being
flooded with briefs offering social
science evidence about how removing the threat of deportation of
undocumented parents helps children, emotionally, socially, and in
Upholding DAPA would "mean
that children of those parents will
no longer live in daily fear that they
will come home from school and find
one or both of those parents gone,
because they are in detention and
face removal," Thomas A. Saenz, the
president and general counsel of the
Mexican-American Legal Defense
and Education Fund, or MALDEF,
said in an interview.
MALDEF intervened in the case
on behalf of three undocumented
mothers in Texas, two of whom have
school-age children who are U.S.
citizens. Those mothers, who are
identified in court papers only as
Jane Doe #1, #2, and #3, volunteer
in their children's schools and accompany their classes on field trips.
"Though this reprieve would not
provide any legal status, pathway to
citizenship, or defense to removal,
if the [DAPA] guidance is implemented the Jane Does would be
able to apply for deferred action in
the hope of obtaining some temporary certainty in their lives and the
lives of their children," the MALDEF brief says.
The DAPA guidance was challenged by Texas and 26 other states,
which argue that the Obama administration exceeded its authority
under several federal immigration
laws by adopting the program by
A federal district court sided
with Texas and issued an injunction to block the program, and the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th
Circuit, in New Orleans, upheld
One of Texas' arguments is that
DAPA will cause it and other
states to incur additional costs
in the areas of law enforcement,
health care, and education.
Texas "pays at least $7,903 annually for each unlawfully present
alien enrolled in public school,"
the state's brief says, and in one
recent year, "Texas absorbed additional education costs of at least
$58,531,100 stemming from illegal
Texas notes in its brief, without
commentary, that it and other
states must provide an education to undocumented immigrant
children under the U.S. Supreme
Court's 1982 decision in Plyler v.
Doe, which held that Texas violated
the equal-protection clause of the
14th Amendment by withholding
funds from school districts for the
education of undocumented immigrant children.
"This court has repeatedly recognized that states incur significant
costs from unlawful immigration,"
Texas tells the justices in its brief.
"The states will be injured if DAPA
causes more aliens to demand these
Educators Join the Fray
Also implicated in the case is a
related Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. That
program, announced in 2012, defers
immigration enforcement and provides work authorization for nearly
2 million eligible youths and young
adults who came to the United
States as children and have lived
here since 2007.
The DACA program has been operating since then, though the administration's 2014 effort to expand
it to cover a wider range of ages and
arrival dates and to lengthen the
period of deferred action from two
years to three was blocked along
with the separate DAPA initiative
as a result of the Texas lawsuit.
Several friend-of-the-court briefs
filed on the Obama administration's
side by educators and education
groups praise DACA and cite studies about its impact.
"DACA is unique among immigration policies because it makes
educational attainment a con-
STATE of the STATES
dition for eligibility," says a brief
by a group of "educators and children's advocates" that includes the
American Federation of Teachers,
the National Education Association, and other education groups.
They point out that eligible applicants must have a high school
diploma or its equivalent or be
enrolled in school, including K-12
education, adult education, literacy,
or career-training programs.
Thus, the expansion of DACA
would encourage "more individuals to remain in or return to school
in order to qualify for the program,
improving rates of educational attainment among the eligible population," the brief says.
Steve Zimmer, the president of
The relief of pressure
parents would extend
to their children."
Migration Policy Institute
the board of the Los Angeles Unified
School District, said in an interview
that "nothing has stabilized the lives
of students in our district more than
He signed on to a separate brief
supporting the federal expansion
filed by various California education, civic, and business leaders.
"DACA has taken an entire set of
stressors off the table for a group of
students that came to this country
through no decision of their own,"
These education briefs also point
to studies that suggest implementation of the DAPA program would aid
schoolchildren by removing stress
from their family's lives.
"The relief of pressure on undocumented parents would extend to their
children," said Randy Capps, the director of research for U.S. programs
at the Migration Policy Institute,
based in Washington. A state such
as Texas with a large population of
Latinos who are U.S.-born children
of undocumented parents would see
lower dropout rates and increased
"And parents would be able to get
a driver's license, and work, and
be more likely to go out in public,"
said Capps, the lead author of a report on DAPA. "That would make
their interactions with the schools
A Range of Arguments
Of course, some of these are
policy arguments. When the justices hear the case next week, they
will confront an array of legal arguments, starting with whether
Texas or other states even would
suffer concrete injuries from the
DAPA and expanded DACA programs, thus giving them proper
legal standing to sue.
That's where Texas raised its arguments about increased costs for
education and other areas. Lower
courts found that the state had legal
standing to sue on the basis that it
would have to issue driver's licenses
to DAPA beneficiaries, increasing
costs in that area.
U.S. Solicitor General Donald B.
Verrilli Jr. starts with that issue,
arguing in a brief that Texas and
other states are not regulated by the
DAPA and expanded DACA policies
and have no standing. He goes on
to argue that federal immigration
statutes give the secretary of the
Department of Homeland Security
ample authority to adopt deferredaction policies.
"Millions of undocumented aliens
live and work in this country, and
Congress has directed the secretary to focus his limited resources
on removing serious criminals and
securing the border," Verrilli says in
the brief. "By deferring action for individuals who are not priorities for
removal, the [DAPA and expanded
DACA] guidance enables DHS to
better focus on its removal priorities."
Texas, which did not respond to
an interview request, says in its
brief that "DAPA would be one of
the largest changes in immigration policy in our nation's history."
It goes on to make numerous arguments why the Obama administration exceeded its powers in adopting the policies.
Michael M. Hethmon, the senior
counsel at the Immigration Reform
Law Institute, a Washington-based
group that opposes the Obama policies and filed a friend-of-the-court
brief on Texas' side, said in an interview that Congress has complete
authority over federal immigration
"Congress didn't just turn over the
keys and the deed to the Department of Homeland Security and say,
'Go for it'," he said.
There are a number of stark realities surrounding the case. The
Supreme Court agreed in January to
take up the case at the request of the
Obama administration, whose only
hope of lifting the injunction and
implementing the policies before the
president leaves office would be a victory at the high court by this June.
But with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, only eight
justices will consider the case. A
deadlock would affirm the 5th Circuit injunction and effectively doom
While there is the potential for the
case to fizzle out to one degree or
another, observers say it could also
result in a major statement on immigration, an issue that has vexed
public policy for decades.
"What the Supreme Court rules
on this case is going to matter a lot
to the discourse about immigration
in American society," said Capps
of the Migration Policy Institute.
"If it says, 'No, you can't have this
[DAPA] status,' that will probably
threaten the original DACA as well.
And it will send a signal that 'illegal' means illegal, and that will embolden some people to send a harmful message that will be felt in the
"On the other hand, if the court
lifts the injunction" and rules in
favor of the administration, Capps
said, "that will send a message that
lifts a stigma about immigration."
Here are summaries of recent annual
addresses by governors around the
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D) * MARCH 22
Calling it a "fair shot" budget,
Washington's mayor announced a proposed
budget that devotes millions of dollars to
early K-12 education and early-childhood
Among the increases would be an
additional $75 million to the District of
Columbia's regular public schools and charter
schools, to a total of about $1.6 billion for
fiscal 2017, to handle enrollment growth, new
schools, and school programs. The proposed
budget would also devote $220 million to
school modernization in fiscal 2017 and
2018, with plans to renovate all schools by
2022. Also, the budget sets aside $3.6 million
to support new federal rules that require
stricter standards for child-care providers
that receive funds through the Child Care
Development Block Grant.
"In order to do all the other things we want
to do as a city, we have to get education right,"
Bowser told city residents in her State of the
CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R) * FEB. 6
In a break from the presidential campaign
trail, Kasich, who is seeking the Republican
nomination, largely avoided issuing broad
policy proposals in his annual address to
lawmakers, though he called for expanding
the teaching of the so-called "STEM"
subjects, plus the arts, throughout all K-12
"Science, technology, engineering, math, and
the arts," Kasich said. "Arts community, did you
ever think you'd see a conservative Republican
Kasich touted his previous education
policies supporting early dropout
prevention, improved school counseling and
career apprenticeship, and elementarygrades reading. He also called for a much
stronger focus on drug prevention and
treatment-an effort that he said should
heavily involve awareness campaigns in
Read online compilation & links to full speeches.
EDUCATION WEEK | April 13, 2016 | www.edweek.org | 17
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 13, 2016
Education Week - April 13, 2016
N.Y. Flip-Flop Affects Policy In Key Areas
Students Help Shape Measures Of ‘Soft Skills’
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News in Brief
Study: Tracking Not an Issue For Career-Tech-Education
San Diego Strives to Close Gap In Access to Advanced Courses
High School Coursework Seen Falling Short
Blogs of the Week
Fee-Payer Issue Still Alive, Despite Close Call for Unions
As First Education Secretary, Shirley M. Hufstedler a Pacesetter
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Shield From Deportation Threat To Get Day at High Court
State of the States
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PAUL KIHN: The District Is Dead. Long Live the District.
Education Week - April 13, 2016