Standing United to Protect the Rights of Immigrant Students and Their Families: Toolkit

Practical resources that educators, counselors, nurses and other school personnel can use to protect the rights of immigrant students and their families.


Introduction

If you are an educator or school support staff, start here:

Do you know your Plyler rights?

  • The law is clear. All children have a Constitutional right to an education. This one-pager guides you through the historic US Supreme Court Case of Plyler v Doe to protect the rights of immigrant students.
  • Read the AFT guidance to affiliates—action steps to ensure every child can safely attend school.
  • Our partners in the fight to protect the rights of immigrant students and their families.

Understand school districts’ education equity and access obligations toward immigrant students.

Send a letter to your district officials to remind them of their obligations.

  • Contact the AFT’s legal department at 202-393-7472 or human rights and community relations department at afthumanrights@aft.org for support in crafting a letter that is tailored to your local circumstances.

Propose that your school district adopt safe zone, sanctuary or community trust policies. Several AFT affiliates have been instrumental in getting their school districts to adopt resolutions that provide safeguards and protections for undocumented students.

Host “know your rights” trainings for educators, students and their families.

  • The AFT has created one-pagers on basic rights of students in English and Spanish and a deportation defense guide in English and Spanish.
  • The AFT in partnership with UWD, NILC and First Focus created a guide for educators and school support staff to help address the needs of undocumented students and their families.  English and Spanish
  • Interested in hosting a professional development workshop or community forum to help educators, parents and students address the needs of immigrant youth and their families? Contact the AFT human rights and community relations department at afthumanrights@aft.org for assistance.

Resources for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal, temporary protected status (TPS) renewal or other kinds of immigration benefits:

  • United We Dream provides guidance and assistance for DACA renewal.
  • UndocuBlack Network provides guidance for TPS renewal
  • The Department of Justice provides an updated list of organizations that offer pro bono immigration legal services.
  • Contact the AFT legal department at 202-393-7472 to help connect members who may need legal support with organizations that provide those services for no or low cost.

Talk to your local union leader about including language that protects immigrant employees during contract negotiations.

  • The AFT has created a sample memorandum of understanding that can be brought to a bargaining table or meet-and-confer situation to negotiate on behalf of our members who are affected by the termination of DACA. This proposal can also be adapted to apply more broadly. Contact the AFT legal department at 202-393-7472 for support on bargaining provisions that protect immigrant employees and for help connecting with rapid response networks that deal with ICE raids in your area.
  • Contact the AFT human rights and community relations department at afthumanrights@aft.org for help locating a local organization that can assist with verifying raid/enforcement activity and connecting those affected with emergency legal support and support services.

Take Action

Dreamers & TPS holders are part of the fabric of our nation—teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, early childhood educators, university professors, and health professionals. They help bring our classrooms, college campuses and health care centers to life. 

Pass the Dream and Promise Act of 2019

Act now