House Reauthorizes Career And Tech Ed Bill While Members Speak Out Against Trump Funding Cuts

Weekend Education Reads: 8 Important Stories on Students & Schools You May Have Missed This Week

Analysis: The Fierce Fight Over Mayoral Control Reflects De Blasio’s Weakness on Education

Delaware Lawmakers Mull Nixing State Board of Ed to Help Ease Budget Crisis

College Presidents Slowly Becoming More Diverse but Still Mostly White Men in Their 60s

Report: For $42 Per Pupil, Districts Can Build Principal Pipelines and Get Better School Leaders

Come Together: New Poll Finds High Bipartisan Support for Improving Early Education

When Communities Secede From School Districts, Inequity & Segregation Follow. But 30 States Let It Happen Anyway

Georgia Special Election Makes American History; Voters’ Education Marks the Race’s Significance

Bror Saxberg, All-Star Learning Scientist, Joins Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Los Angeles School Board Bars Charter Schools From Being Included in New Unified Enrollment System

N.M. Ed Chief Hanna Skandera Leaves Office and Shares Tenure Highlights; Still ‘a Lot of Work to Do’

You Are What You Eat (at School): Report Shows Healthy School Lunches Tied to Higher Student Test Scores

New Census Numbers: Per-Pupil Spending Rose 3.5% in 2015; Same-Year NAEP Scores Dropped

As Charter Fans Fret About Trump’s Support, Leaders Warn Funding Boost Not a Done Deal

ESSA Takes Shape: Feds Give Surprisingly Strong Feedback on Delaware, Nevada & New Mexico Plans

South Carolina Announces $250,000 Fellowships for Educators to Launch Top-Notch Charter Schools

In D.C.’s Revamped ‘Opportunity Academies,’ There Are No Forgotten Students on Graduation Day

Montessori Was the Original Personalized Learning. Now, 100 Years Later, Wildflower Is Reinventing the Model

Success Academy Launches Online ‘Education Institute’ to Share Curriculum, Professional Development

Trump Nominees Sessions and Kelly Duck DACA, Immigration Questions at Confirmation Hearings

Photo Credit: Getty Images

January 10, 2017

Talking Points

.@SenatorSessions says @realDonaldTrump can rescind #DACA

.@SenatorSessions and Gen. John Kelly dodge questions about what would happen to #DACA youth

Gen. John Kelly says he would “guess” that #DACA youth won’t be prioritized for deportation

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Two of President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for top cabinet posts repeatedly dodged questions from senators Tuesday about what will happen to hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth granted temporary legal status under a program that Trump has vowed to end.

Both Gen. John Kelly, chosen to run the Department of Homeland Security, and Attorney General–designate Sen. Jeff Sessions declined to discuss whether the next administration would seek to deport young people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“I would guess that this category might not be the highest priority for removal,” Kelly said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs.

Sessions, an Alabama senator who has long opposed immigration reform, earlier told colleagues on the Judiciary Committee that he believes Trump would have the authority to rescind DACA as president. “It’s an executive order, really, a memorandum of the Department of Homeland Security. It would certainly be constitutional, I believe, to end that order,” Sessions said.

(The 74: DACA Supporters Fear What Attorney General Jeff Sessions Would Mean for Immigrant Youth)

Asked by Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois what would happen to youth already in the program, he said, “We are not able, financially or any other way, to seek out and remove everybody that’s in the country illegally. President Trump has indicated that criminal aliens — like President Obama has indicated — certainly are the top group of people.”

Sessions added: “Let’s fix this system. Then we can work together after this lawfulness has been ended. Then we can ask the American people and enter into a dialogue about how to compassionately treat people who have been here a long time.”

Replied Durbin, “That does not answer the question about 800,000 who would be left in the lurch, whose lives would be ruined.”

President Barack Obama created DACA by executive order in 2012, giving legal status to so-called DREAMers — youth who arrived in the United States before age 16, attend school or have graduated from high school, and have no criminal convictions. The program also provides work permits and relief from deportation.

(The 74: Students Fear Trump’s Vow to End DACA Could Mean Deportations — and an End to Their College Dreams)

During the presidential campaign, Trump vowed to end the program and ramp up deportation of undocumented immigrants, prompting concerns from some activist groups and lawmakers that the DACA list, which is maintained by Homeland Security, could be used to provide names for expulsions.

In an interview with 60 Minutes after the election, Trump appeared to soften his approach, saying his administration would focus on undocumented immigrants with criminal records and make a determination about others later.  

Newly elected California senator Kamala Harris asked Kelly whether information DACA applicants supplied to Homeland Security about their families or guardians would be used for deportation proceedings.

“I don’t know, right now, where the upcoming administration is going on this,” he said. “I can tell you, Senator — I promise you — I will keep a very open mind as we look at this topic.”

Harris has vowed to introduce legislation protecting DREAMers from deportation. Other California lawmakers have urged the Obama administration to pardon DACA youth.



Perhaps the most heated exchange was between Sessions and Durbin, who accused the senator of offering no evidence that he would handle the issue of immigration fairly and humanely. “Tell me I’m wrong,” Durbin said.

“You are wrong, Senator Durbin. I’m going to follow the laws passed by Congress,” Sessions said. “I do believe, if you continually go through a cycle of amnesty, that you undermine the respect for the law.”