Grand Rapids School Board takes formal stand against Trump's plan to end DACA

Sep 5, 2017

The Grand Rapids School Board voted today to take a formal stand against President Trump's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – or DACA.

DACA protects many young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Wendy Falb, the president of Grand Rapids Public School Board of Education, says the resolution urges Congress to pass legislation to create a path to citizenship for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, "and create a clear path going forward for children that have been living their entire lives in the United States."

Falb says the program helps many undocumented immigrants fill teaching gaps in the school system.

“People under DACA are assets in our community on so many levels, teachers among them, and it's just not a benefit to our community in any way, shape or form to rescind this,” she said.

Teresa Weatherall Neal is the superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools. She says the decision to stand against Trump’s plan was about doing the right thing.

“We can’t just pretend that this is OK, we can’t pretend anything that will hurt our children is OK,” Neal said.

Carmen Zavala is a DACA recipient who has been living in Grand Rapids for the past 22 years. She said Trump’s announcement brought her to tears.

“I started crying. I started crying because a lot of parents, a lot of people are in this situation,” Zavala said.

The board approved a resolution urging Congress to keep DACA permanently, and expand it to create a path to citizenship for people in the program.