Education reformers, including Netflix CEO, push for DREAMer fix

ByCaitlin Emma

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Education reform advocates and charter school leaders are pushing Congress to come up with a legislative fix for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

Among those visiting congressional offices this week is Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, a member of the board of directors for the KIPP Foundation, the nonprofit backing KIPP public charter schools nationwide. Board members are meeting with both Republicans and Democrats to push for action on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Silicon Valley is asking for a fix, Hastings said at a Wednesday event.

“The DREAMers came here through no fault of their own and now they’re grown up,” he said. “They’ve broken no laws.”

President Donald Trump earlier this year decided to end the program, which provides temporary protection from deportation for so-called DREAMers, many of whom work or are enrolled in college or high school. Those students could be at risk for deportation in March.

Members of the KIPP Foundation board, KIPP alumni and school leaders have met with more than 25 congressional offices on both sides of the aisle to advocate for a legislative solution, according to KIPP Foundation spokesman Stephen Mancini.

The KIPP Foundation also hosted a panel discussion on the Hill on Wednesday in which two DACA recipients shared their personal stories. Nancy — a DREAMer, former Baltimore KIPP student and a marketing associate with the KIPP Foundation in New York City — said “a lot of us are very scared that our lives are going to be uprooted.”

Rod Paige, who served as Education secretary under former President George W. Bush, said he worries that members of Congress “might not get the emotional impact of this particular issue” and that they may fail to comprehend the “intensity” of the hopelessness that DREAMers feel without adequate support.

Hastings said that if members of Congress are able to come up with a fix for DACA, it could open the door for broader immigration reform down the road.