Let’s Talk About DACA

Uneasy about discussing DACA—and its related issues like immigration, racism, and sanctuary—with your students? Here are some resources to start the conversation.

There are some acronyms that most people know: SUV, LOL, NPR. There are others when heard that evoke scrunched eyebrows in confusion. How many of your students have heard of DACA?

In 2012, President Obama enacted the DACA Program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) that protects undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors from deportation. There are almost 700,000 current DACA recipients, commonly referred to as DREAMers, in this country. DACA and issues of immigration have polarized the nation. Recently, DACA has found itself as a bargaining chip in congressional budget debates for the wall and other agendas. DREAMers face deportation if DACA isn’t renewed by March 5.

DACA may seem like a heavy topic to unpack and discuss with students because it feels complex and uncomfortable, yet this issue impacts everyone.

Thoughtfully exploring controversial topics like DACA also cultivates deeper understanding, critical thinking, and an ability to talk about different ideas and opinions.

This “Let’s Talk About” feature explores DACA and its related issues of immigration, racism, and sanctuary. With YES! stories and outside resources, plus discussion questions and curriculum, you and your students will learn about this topic from multiple angles.

In the end, we hope that this discussion will help students reflect on how the United States treats its immigrants, and what kind of society they want to be part of. 

This is our fourth collection. We will post a new collection on a different topic on the first Thursday of each month.

If you have ideas you’d like to share with other teachers or want to tell us how we could make this collection better, please share your thoughts in the comment section at the end of the article.

How to Use This Collection 

Suggested below are steps to a thoughtful and meaningful discussion with your students about DACA—plus issues of immigration, racism, and sanctuary.  Choose what is appropriate for your class.

1. Students complete a pre-survey (optional).
2. Choose at least one YES! article and one outside article for a robust compare and contrast.
3. Use the discussion questions—or craft your own—to gauge your students’ understanding and opinions.
4. Students complete a post-survey (optional).
5. Explore curriculum if you’d like to dive deeper.

Reading Materials

YES! Articles

The Mental and Physical Trauma of 750,000 DACA Kids Living in Limbo

Banishing DREAMers: The Meanness Isn’t Just Trump

I Stood Up to ICE, and Now They’re Trying to Deport Me

How to Help Immigrant and Muslim Neighbors

This Is Our Best Defense Against Trump’s Immigration Policies

Outside Resources

What Is DACA? Who Are the Dreamers? Here Are Some Answers

Why Your Economic Argument Against Immigration Is Probably Wrong

As a Dreamer, I Will Not Be A Bargaining Chip for Trump’s Attack on Immigrants

Discussion Questions 

1. What are some reasons people emigrate to America? What challenges might they face? Do you think their expectations for a better life are met? If not, how does this country disappoint or not live up its promise?

2. Why do you think there has been a growing intolerance of immigrants, and proposals for tougher immigration policies in the United States? Does this reflect the kind of society you want to be a part of? Explain why.

3. Every day we hear about anti-immigration threats and fears of harassment and deportation among immigrants. We also hear about individuals and groups protesting and offering aid and protection. Does your school openly talk about students at your school who are DREAMers, immigrants or refugees? How can classmates, teachers, and your community help these students feel safe, secure, and welcome?


Immigration Myths (Teaching Tolerance) (Teaching Tolerance)

Teaching About Immigration (Teaching for Change) with lessons on immigration from Rethinking Schools & Zinn Education Project.

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