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Academic News | DACA Teachers Across the Country Embrace SCOTUS Ruling Allowing Them to ‘Live, Work Without Fear’

Bilingual special education teacher Karen Reyes was in her Austin, Texas, home, using sign language to tell a story about an elephant and a pig to her 4- and 5-year-old students, when the text messages started rolling in.

Not yet, she thought to herself, trying to stay calm, aware of the kids watching her over Zoom. Not yet.

It was 9 a.m. on the morning of June 18, and the Supreme Court had just handed down its decision blocking the Trump administration from ending DACA, the program that’s allowed some 650,000 immigrants who were carried into the U.S. as children — as Reyes was — to live and work without the threat of deportation.

When she finally got a chance to glance at her phone, what Reyes saw there made her smile so widely she was sure her students thought she looked funny. When class ended, the only way she could respond to the texts was through emojis: hearts, fists and bawling smiley faces.

“It’s an immense relief,” Reyes says. “To finally have a decision — and a favorable one at that. I have no words.”

The 31-year-old filed legal statements in support of the American Federation of Teachers, the national teachers union, which was a plaintiff in a related case, Trump v. NAACP. That case and two others were consolidated into the DACA case that the high court ruled on Thursday.

Education leaders have noted that a different decision could have been another devastating blow to students, at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the nation, shuttered K-12 schools and gutted education budgets.

“We are relieved and thankful for the court’s decision today,” said Los Angeles Superintendent Austin Beutner. “An end to DACA would significantly disrupt classrooms and destabilize school districts, producing effects that reverberate throughout communities.”

Adopted from The74