DENVER – Swamped with letters from worried families after the election of Donald Trump, Denver Public School officials have released a fact sheet in several languages answering immigration-related questions in the aftermath of a divisive election season.
“We recognize that many students and their families are struggling with intensely personal questions, concerns and fears about the impact of the election,” said DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, in a letter sent to thousands of families this week.
The move by DPS officials comes after several remarks were made by the president-elect during and after his campaign, promising to deport criminals and people living in the U.S. illegally – a move that affects students under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides protection to young undocumented immigrants.
About 56 percent of DPS students last year were Latino and 14 percent were black, according to Chalkbeat Colorado, a nonprofit news organization covering education news. Thirty-seven percent were English language learners, the nonprofit also reports.
The fact sheet was presented to school leaders in a question-answer format and was distributed in four languages: English, Spanish, Arabic and Vietnamese – the last three being the top three most spoken languages by DPS students, according to district statistics.
The fact sheet assures parents that a child’s immigration status has no bearing on whether they can receive equal access to public education, as it is a constitutional right – a right that cannot be taken away by the president or the state.
The sheet also seeks to remove any worry that the district would ever share a student’s immigration status with federal immigration officials.
It does, however, encourage DACA recipients to consider reaching out to an immigration attorney and provides several links to resources families might find helpful.
Concerns from the community are not entirely unfounded.
On Thursday, Trump vowed to end sanctuary cities “that have resulted in so many needless deaths” by pulling federal funding. Cities like Denver and Aurora could be feel the pinch if Trump does indeed follow through with his promises.
A day before, college students at the Auraria Campus joined others across the country in calling for sanctuary campuses as they fear Trump’s policies will do little to protect students of all ages from deportation.
Colorado students have repeatedly voiced their concerns following Trump’s victory.
High school students in both Denver and Boulder walked out of class just days after the election. In Douglas County, Rocky Canyon High School students burned an American flag on school property as a sign of protest.
You can read the entire fact sheet sent by DPS officials here.