National Education Association (NEA) executive director John Stocks decried law enforcement efforts to enforce United States immigration laws by deporting illegal immigrants in remarks at a union-sponsored rally on the National Mall on Tuesday.
Stocks made his remarks while several children wearing union-provided tee-shirts emblazoned with the phrases “Don’t deport my dad” and “Don’t deport my mom” standing behind him on stage.
“Every day in America, thousands of students are denied the American dream because of their legal status,” Stocks said. “Every day in America thousands of students don’t know if they will come home to find their parents. This is a moral tragedy, an injustice to the more than 3 million members of my union, the National Education Association.”
Stocks said that he and those the union represents–teachers–are supposed to be advocates for students.
“As educators, we advocate for our students in their classrooms every day,” Stocks said. “They are our students, the children who educators know by name, and by where they live. We advocate [for] them because they have dreams too and their dreams should be fulfilled. Forcing them to live in the shadows is not just, just because of their legal status.”
“So, as the executive director of the National Education Association, we are standing together with our students to ensure they are not permanently stuck in second class status, locked out of our schoolhouses, and denied the opportunity of an education,” he stated. “We will not stop at the NEA until we achieve a permanent solution that grants dignity and respect to immigrant workers, their families, and their children. The House of Representatives in the United States can make or break these children’s dreams.”
Stocks then turned introduced several of the children behind him to the crowd so they could tell their stories. Several of the children then told the crowd their stories, with some speaking in Spanish and others in English.