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Zimmer calls on Obama to help undocumented immigrants

Craig Clough | November 17, 2014

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Steve Zimmer

Steve Zimmer

As President Obama considers an executive order on immigration that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S., LA Unified board member Steve Zimmer is calling on Obama to bring “relief” to undocumented immigrants.

“[Obama] must do what’s best for our children — native born and immigrant alike — by ensuring that their parents can focus on raising their kids, instead of being distorted by the terror of being deported,” Zimmer said in a commentary he submitted to immigration policy groups for their use, according to the board’s communication director, Tom Waldman.

Zimmer also noted that during his long career in education, he has seen top students unable to go to college because of their immigration status.

“This is not just a policy issue for me,” he said. “Starting with my teaching career in 1992, I saw dozens and dozens of students with 4.0 GPAs, ready for college, but facing a closed door to higher education simply because of their immigration status. Years later, as a counselor, I could only give hugs of consolation at graduation ceremonies to some of our greatest students who met every requirement for college eligibility except status.”

Zimmer’s commentary also called on Obama to update the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which was signed in 2012, creating an avenue for some people who came to the United States as children to request consideration of deferred deportation action. The program only applies to children over 15 years of age because any children younger are considered at low risk for deportation.

But that hasn’t been the case, Zimmer said, pointing out that over 20,000 DACA applications filed over a one-year period were for children under 14.

“These substantial numbers defy their categorization as low-priority deportation cases,” Zimmer said.

Obama’s move on immigration is expected to bring about harsh opposition from Republican leaders and push the debate to the national forefront. The executive order would protect up to five million of the estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the country, according to the New York Times.

Obama’s action would include extending protections to 3.3 million parents of children who are citizens or legal residents and add about 700,000 to be eligible for DACA protection, the Times reported.


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