Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers : Undocumented Immigrant Teachers Honored

The White House recently honored a unique set of teachers for being strong role models for their students and their communities. Nine immigrant teachers named Champions of Change were honored even though are not documented. The teachers were allowed to stay and work in the United States through a government program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA.) Teachers who met the DACA requirements are called DACAmented Techers, a play on the word documented.

The celebration included Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, and Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Ms. Muñoz is also a former senior vice president of National Council of La Raza, a civil rights organization. The actress and immigration advocate, Diane Guerrero, was also present at the celebration. She is the citizen daughter of undocumented immigrant parents.

DACA Requirements

The Department of Homeland Security, through the DACA program, allows some undocumented immigrant children to live and work in the United States. The DACA conditions are that the children must have come to the U.S. after 1981 and before their 16th birthday. The children must also have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and resided stateside since June 15, 2007. Other eligibility requirements include a clean criminal and public safety record; a GED or high school degree or school presence; or an honorable discharge from the US military. The age limit has subsequently been removed by the Obama administration. By March 20, 2015, over 850,000 DACA applications were approved.

Texas Honorees

Luis Juarez-Trevino, who applied for DACA while going to school at the University of Texas at Austin, taught math and science in the Dallas Independent School District. Luis, who came to the United States from Monterrey Mexico in 2004, said his undocumented status and Mexican background helped him connect with his students and their parents.

Maria Dominquez is another Dallas Independent School District bilingual teacher honoree. She is a first grade teacher and is active in the Texas teacher’s union. She helps conduct union citizenship drives, DACA clinics and educational programs along with her teaching duties. She is also from Mexico.

Kasfia Islam teaches in Houston and is another University of Texas graduate.

Rosario Quiroz Villarreal teaches fourth grade in Rio Grande Valley. She also worked for Teach for America, works for social justice and works with children from communities who are unrepresented.

California Honorees

Jaime Ballesteros is from the Philippines and lives in California. He teaches in a Watts/downtown Los Angeles public charter school. Jaime teaches math and Spanish in middle school.

Yara Hidalgo teaches middle school math and Spanish in San Jose’s Heart Nativity Catholic School.

Colorado Honorees

Marisa Molina is a Teach for America corps member.

David Liendo Uriona is also a Teach for America corps member and a Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) leader and organizer.

The Final Honoree

Dinorah Flores Perez has roots in Mexico and El Salvadore. She went to school at the University of Washington and is getting her master’s degree at the University of New Mexico.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, PC Counsel Celebrate DACAmented Teachers

Philadelphia immigration attorneys at Surin & Griffin, PC, are proud to recognize the achievements of these nine White House DACAmented teacher honorees. We applaud their service to their communities and their giving their students a chance to excel. If anyone you know has an immigration issue, legal or practical, please call us at 215-925-4435 or submit our online contact form to request a consultation.