WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten, AFT local leaders from Florida and Texas, and AFT educators protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program participated in a civil disobedience action at the U.S. Capitol today to call on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act.
Weingarten made the following remarks from the stage before getting arrested with hundreds of other leaders and activists:
“What makes America great are the people who are standing behind me—the leaders, the teachers—who every single day are in schools helping children—the DACAmented teachers who are standing right here behind me.
“This is about Areli Zarate, who at age 8 escaped grinding poverty in Mexico and is now a high school teacher. Lee-Ann Graham, who was 14 years old when she moved to this country from Trinidad and Tobago, is now a paraprofessional in New York City. Jessica Esparza, whose parents brought her to the United States from Mexico without proper documentation when she was 11 years old, started in seventh grade to learn English, and thanks to the DACA program, she is now a registered nurse. I could go on and on, but we are here for Areli, for Jessica, for Lee-Ann, for the 800,000 DACAmented students who have done nothing wrong, who came to this country because their parents wanted a dream, who came here, did everything we asked them to do, and are now saving lives teaching kids and growing our economy. It is quite horrible for this president to basically take and strip away the pathway they used to have to citizenship. That is why we are standing here together to say we need a clean Dream Act right now.”