Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten Responds to Secretary DeVos’ Craven Attempt to Exclude Undocumented Students from CARES Act Relief

For Release:


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement responding to the Department of Education’s announcement creating an “interim final rule” that requires colleges to exclude undocumented students and others who don’t qualify for federal student aid from a more than $6 billion emergency cash grant program under the CARES Act, H.R. 748:

“Secretary Betsy DeVos’ rule makes clear that even though COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, this administration does. Our country is facing three major crises—a public health crisis, an economic crisis and a racial justice crisis—all of which exacerbate the inequalities in our communities and require more help from our federal government, not less. Yet in our moment of greatest need, this administration doubles down on its bigoted, anti-immigrant stance, and DeVos does the dirty work by cutting off any aid that could help our undocumented students.

“Undocumented immigrants have been working on the frontlines of this pandemic and are the backbone of this country, but in return for their service, they’re being told they’re ineligible for most of the pandemic aid available. From stimulus checks to unemployment, undocumented immigrants have been left out and left behind, and now DeVos wants to extend that attack to immigrant students as well. 

“Several states have already sued the Education Department over this guidance, and more pushback is coming. We implore Betsy DeVos to do her job and actually help all students access financial relief in this time of great need, not just the ones who agree with her politically.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.