Donald Trump

DACA Decisions Could Affect Number of North Texas Teachers

North Texans are bracing for a decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) and the impact it could have on families across the state.

A federal judge halted a plan from President Donald Trump's administration to end the program that allows immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as youth to stay and work. The ruling says the administration must renew protections for so-called "dreamers" until the lawsuits can play out in court.

Employers around North Texas are keeping close watch on the courts, especially school districts that would lose teachers who are here under DACA.

Luis Juarez, a fifth grade teacher at Lipscomb Elementary School, has been watching DACA decisions, which have been nothing short of nerve-racking.

"You wake up with it. You go to sleep with it. It's very present in your mind," he said. "I have nothing to go back to. My life is here. My family is here. My career is here."

In the Dallas Independent School District, there are 68 DACA employees, including 36 teachers. The Fort Worth Independent School District has 76 DACA employees, including 27 teachers.

"The only preparation that we can have is to have substitute teachers, which would not be ideal," Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said.

What teacher shortages around the nation, it could become a nightmare situation.

"It was even more catastrophic for us, because many of these are bilingual teachers and that's the biggest shortage area," Hinojosa said. "People don't realize that we have 44 percent of our students as English learners."

"If we would have lost them in the middle of the year, it would have had a traumatic impact on our school system," Hinojosa said.

Hinojosa said the recent court ruling offers some help and "wiggle room."

"The actual ruling by the judge helps us, because it defers it until there is a resolution of that lawsuit. So we can at least get through the entire academic year and it won't create chaos in our classrooms," he said.

"The ruling, it's a spark of light," Juarez added. "You have to put on your brave face for your kids."

Dallas ISD is working provide resources for teachers and students' families affected by DACA.

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