Dreamers need not apply: city’s teacher shortage overlooks the undocumented | Cities


Madai Zamora is about to become a teacher. But with weeks to go before she completes her degree in Charlotte, North Carolina, she is unsure whether her students will be in the United States – or in Mexico.

Zamora, 23, who was brought from Mexico as a child, is one of the more than 752,000 people across the US to receive temporary deportation relief through a programme called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca).

Daca, which went into effect in 2012, gives undocumented young people the right to work and go to school in the US. But after Donald Trump promised to cancel Daca, even people with temporary deportation relief feel unsure about their future in the US.

“I feel like I have been working so hard for the possibility of it all being taken away,” Zamora says.

What would a city look like without undocumented immigrants?

With an undocumented population feeling increasingly threatened since Trump’s election – with workers vanishing from building sites and a food industry under increasing stress – the education system is also feeling the strain.

Trump didn’t repeal Daca on day one, but recipients who came to the US as children, and are known as “Dreamers”, have been arrested and detained by immigration officials. The White House has not announced its plans for the programme, which gives them access to the data of hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the US illegally.

Amid the uncertainty, one thing is clear: regardless of what happens with Daca, Zamora won’t be able to teach in the city of Charlotte – or anywhere in North Carolina, her home for the past 10 years. Like the majority of states, North Carolina doesn’t grant teaching licences to undocumented people,…

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