A Disastrous Decision- DACA Repeal


            DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a policy that was passed under the Obama Administration in 2012 as a way for the children of illegal immigrants to be able to come out of the shadows and live the true American dream. This is done by providing two-year work permits to all those eligible under the policy. Those eligible under DACA must have entered the country below the age of 16 and be under the age of 31 as of July 15, 2012 as well as not having any severe misdemeanor record. In other words, DACA was a solution put into place to give the hundreds of thousands of undocumented children and young adults in the US the ability to have a brighter and more hopeful future. Rightfully, this generation of people without a country to call their own but with a future for their own have been coined as the “Dreamers.”

            The effect that DACA had for the Dreamers is undeniably tremendous. A recent study in the well-respected Journal of Public Economics estimates that not only increased the average income of undocumented immigrants at the bottom of the income distribution, but it also put somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 undocumented immigrants into employment. An economist from the University of California, Davis concluded that DACA, “increases consumption and overall demand of US services, products, and jobs where the DACA recipients live and spread.” This massive increase in employment and demand has an obvious impact on the US economy as well.  With those under DACA buying their first cars, homes and more, even people who are not directly affected by DACA are being positively impacted. At least they were…

            During the 2016 election campaign, President Trump made several claims about how DACA was the reason for unemployment in America. His argument was that undocumented immigrants are taking away jobs from US citizens. By saying this, he gained the votes of millions of unemployed workers in the US while simultaneously breaking the hearts of many Americans and causing economists from across the world to cringe. Trumps argument, although it may seem legitimate at first, is based around the “lump of labor” fallacy. This assumes that there is a limit to the size of a workforce in an economy. This was proven to be definitively incorrect over a century ago by economist David Frederick Schloss, who concluded that the amount of work in an economy is not fixed. However, the illegitimate claims he made did not stop the momentum he’d already built amongst his loyal supporters. Since then Trump has continued to push for the removal of DACA in office.

            Last Tuesday, September 5th, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially announced that DACA has been rescinded after being ruled “unconstitutional” by the 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals under similar claims as the DAPA(Deferred Action for Parent Arrivals) was rescinded.

            This decision will not only be catastrophic towards the massive community of Dreamers who were making a future for themselves in what they see as the “Land of Opportunity,” but it is also a blow towards the United States both economically and socially. The CATO Institute found that the removal of the DACA program will have a negative impact of about $280 billion on tax revenue. That’s right…tax revenue. This loss may lead to increased taxes for the rest of American citizens, or simply fewer investments into our struggling infrastructure. Not only this, but by deporting hundreds of thousands of educated and passionate workers is extremely counter-productive. As theorized by Giovanni Peri, Chair of the Department of Economics and UC Davis, the loss of DACA-educated workers, who the US economy has already invested in through public education, will result in a loss $433 billion over the next decade. On top of all of this, the morality that the US is portrayed to have towards hard-working immigrants and people escaping dangerous situations will be completely shattered. We will be seen as a cold-blooded nation by our allies for abandoning people who call our country their home. Pope Francis has already explained that a decision that involves abandoning children is not “pro-life.” If Trump is truly pro-life, the Pope advised that he rethink his decision.

            DACA is a program that was one of the few programs in the last decade that was truly successful. It had bi-partisan approval within Congress when introduced by President Obama, and it has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” across the nation. The removal of DACA truly shows a negative shift in the decision making of United States government based around the idea of knocking others down rather than building each other up. Instead of building off of the successes of the previous administration, Trump decided to crush it, removing any signs of it. Not only does this make him look more powerful amongst his supporters, but it also shows to them that he is willing to act on the things he said on the campaign trail, whether the decision be based on fact of fallacy. That is horrifying. However, this decision will come with consequences. As the economy begins to fall, taxes begin to rise, and the rest of the world begin to laugh in our faces, it will be clear what went wrong.

Discussion on the topic is welcome in the comments below.

-Vinay Konuru, Florida

Teen Vogue Features Lead Youth Activist Hebh Jamal

Hebh’s entry into activism came courtesy of The New York Times, which featured her in a front-page story titled “Muslim Youths in U.S. Feel Strain of Suspicion” in December 2015. After the article appeared, a high school in the city invited her to speak about her experiences of Islamophobia.

“It was very diverse, very integrated. It felt abnormal to me, and I didn’t know why it felt abnormal,” she says. “So I went and I researched, and I found out that New York City has the most segregated schools in the country.”

After meeting with city council member Brad Lander, she’s become a student activist with the organization IntegrateNYC4Me, which challenges school segregation in New York, and she helps runs its race and enrollment committee. The city’s current school system is “disheartening,” Hebh says. “But I’m trying to fix it.”

IntegrateNYC4Me was cofounded by Sarah Camiscoli, who works closely with Hebh. “She reminds me of the importance of honoring student vision even when it seems challenging,” Sarah says. “And she shows me what it means to have the courage to take a stand.”


Chance the Rapper and IntegrateNYC4Me Speak on America's Public School Crisis

Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

Earlier this month, Chance the Rapper met with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and challenged him to “do your job” and adequately fund Chicago’s public schools (Chance subsequently put his own money up, making a $1 million donation to Chicago schools). After the meeting, Chance challenged the media, and Complex in particular, to “give a comprehensive history of how we got here.”

So, where is “here”? A 21st-century America—not just Chicago—rife with apartheid schools that serve almost exclusively Black and Brown students, are chronically underfunded, and struggle to fulfill every student’s right to the quality education that can give them a fair shot at success. An America more interested in funding the school-to-prison pipeline than public schools themselves. An America where we spend less than $10,000 a year to educate a child but anywhere from $35,000 to $64,000 to incarcerate one.


Vice Features Hebh Jamal for International Women's Day

“We must love America enough to change it” – Bronx-born Hebh Jamal, 17, explains why resistance isn’t futile.

Hebh Jamal made her political debut on the cover of the New York Times; since then the Bronx High School student's activism has remained impressively high profile, whether staging a strike following Trump's inauguration, being interviewed by the Observer and Broadly or talking on a panel with Angela Davis. An advocate for education since she was 15-years-old, Jamal has become increasingly active as she attempts to execute her vision for a more conscious, harmonious, educated society - regardless what executive orders Trump's government try to pass.

In celebration of IWD, we asked this formidable female to tell us about her type of activism, and what she intends to do to challenge political Islamophobia.

"Oppression has always manifested itself in three ways: lack of safety, vulnerability, and intimidation through a set power structure. In America, the demonisation of Muslim Americans has been perpetuated by the media, Hollywood, and government policy. What I was in fact perplexed by was this new rhetoric that is seemingly founded on oblivion surrounding the current situation of America: that Muslims are newly under attack by public officials. The reality is that we have been under attack during both Democratic and Republican presidencies. The only difference now is that this presidency aims to demonise all marginalised groups at the same time.


Teach Us All and IntegrateNYC4Me Selected As Must-See Panel

The 74, a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America, and Big Tomorrow, a multi-disciplinary design firm specializing in the creation of paradigm-shifting experiences, both highlighted the Teach Us All panel featuring IntegrateNYC4Me as a must see at this year's SXSWedu.

Check out their other recommendations at South by Southwest Education: The 17 Panels and Sessions to See at SXSW 2017 and BT’s SXSWedu 2017 Picks.

SXSWedu Announces Panel Featuring IntegrateNYC4Me

The SXSWedu® Conference & Festival fosters innovation in learning by hosting a passionate and diverse community of education stakeholders. The seventh annual SXSWedu will return to Austin, March 6-9, 2017, for four days of compelling sessions, in-depth workshops, engaging learning experiences, mentorship, film screenings, startup events, policy-centered discussions, business opportunities, networking and so much more! Through collaboration, creativity and social action, SXSWedu empowers its global community to connect, discover and impact.

As part of the SXSWedu Film program, panels following select screenings allow attendees to connect with voices from in front of and behind the camera. This year, Teach Us All was selected to be screened followed by a panel including IntegrateNYC4Me lead student activist, Hebh Jamal, and Co-Director, Sarah Camiscoli.

Read the full announcement here.

Helping Students Process the Election of Donald Trump

"Following the recent presidential election, some communities are feeling vulnerable and fearful that the potential policies of the new administration might affect them negatively. While children of those communities may be feeling the same anxiety, they're not necessarily able to process and understand these very adult concepts. Teachers are on the front line helping their students navigate the world, but how are they speaking with their students about the recent election and the potential impact on their lives?

Here to tell us about some of the challenges teachers are facing in this politically charged climate are David Bloomfield, Professor of Educational Leadership at Brooklyn College, and Sarah Camiscoli, Co-Founder and Co-Director of IntegrateNYC4Me, an advocacy organization focused on increasing diversity in New York City public schools."

Love Still Trumps Fear

"After receiving a flood of worried text messages on election night, Camiscoli gave [IntegrateNYC4Me Activists] the option to write a letter. On brightly colored paper, each stamped with a heart and the words 'Love Trumps Fear,' she asked them to to send a message to any community that might need to hear something positive.

Rather than despair, the letters are full of encouragement.

'No matter what happens, we have to accept it and plan to move forward,' reads one, addressed to fellow students. 'You have a dream ahead you have to hold onto.'

Another letter, addressed to the LGBT community, says, 'I just want to tell you that you are strong, you are beautiful and that you are brave.'"


WNYC: How to Talk About the Election with Students

"Sarah Camiscoli, who runs a group for the school's older students called IntegrateNYC4Me, said she asked them "to write letters of love and hope to people they think may have lost it," or who may feel scared or angry.

Amera Attalah, 16, who is Muslim, wrote to Muslims who worry they're not American enough. 'If you don't discourage yourself, it is impossible for the negativity of others to infiltrate your consciousness,' she said."


The Century Foundation Reports on IntegrateNYC4Me's Role in City-Wide Change

As the largest school district in the U.S. and one of the most segregated, New York City "officials have taken preliminary steps to make diversity a consideration in more of the district’s policies." Read the full article to hear more about the actions being taken and the role of IntegrateNYC4Me in ensuring the diversity of our city is brought into the classrooms of every school.

IntegrateNYC4Me Lead Student Activist Shares Her Thoughts with the Ethics in Education Network

The Value of “What do you think?”

By Hebh Jamal

The greatest question any authoritative figure can ask a child or a student. Inclusivity in all aspects of decision making is vital, but it is most important in our schools.

I would like to consider myself a youth activist working to diversify a segregated school system, and yet while legislation is the ultimate goal in any reform process, it is the student advocates that create change from the bottom on up.

In December of last year, I had the opportunity to speak at an integrated high school. Students from all racial, economic, and educational backgrounds were in a single classroom. I stepped into the main office, and READ MORE

No Scan Zone: De Blasio Announces Metal Detector Changes

The IntegrateNYC4Me advocates from District 15 have called for the removal of the scanners in their school, which students walk through every day. The students point to the incredible harm this does to students' dignity, the vast statistics that show the disparity of scanner placements meaning they disproportionately harm poor students of color, and the damage surveillance does to a sense of community within a school building.

After the advocates painted a mural and held an unveiling in their community, inviting political leaders and other activists, Mayor de Blasio announced "the city’s first formal protocols for adding and removing metal detectors from schools." Read more about the story here

Photos by Cassandra Giraldo 

Stronger Together Bill: IntegrateNYC4Me on Capitol Hill

From the National Coalition on School Diversity

Stronger Together Hill Briefing

"On the morning of June 8, the Department of Education held a briefing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building regarding the proposed Stronger Together program.  At the briefing Senator Chris Murphy announced his intent to introduce legislation authorizing the Stronger Together program, while education experts and advocates (including NCSD member Sarah Camiscoli [Co-Director IntegrateNYC4Me] and Erica Frankenberg) discussed research regarding the positive impacts of racial and socioeconomic integration, and what can be done to foster collaborative work between local education, transportation, and housing and community development agencies."

MSN amplifies the voices of IntegrateNYC4Me Student Advocates

MSN, with a monthly audience of 350 million, shared an article originally published in The Huffington Post on their platform. Excitingly, the images used for the article and published below were taken by IntegrateNYC4Me Student Advocate and aspiring photographer, Amina Fofana. We are thrilled to see the message of IntegrateNYC4Me amplified and a dream of one of our incredible students realized. 

See the pictures and the full article here

© Amina Fofana/IntegrateNYC4Me IntegrateNYC4Me Advocates pose for a photo outside the City Council Building on June 2 in preparation for a meeting with NYC Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack who oversees city-wide enrollment.

© Amina Fofana/IntegrateNYC4Me IntegrateNYC4Me Advocates pose for a photo outside the City Council Building on June 2 in preparation for a meeting with NYC Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack who oversees city-wide enrollment.

© Amina Fofana/IntegrateNYC4Me Sarah Camiscoli, Co-Director of IntegrateNYC4Me, works with AB, a student at the Bronx Academy of Letters, to develop city-wide policies for integration and equity.

© Amina Fofana/IntegrateNYC4Me Sarah Camiscoli, Co-Director of IntegrateNYC4Me, works with AB, a student at the Bronx Academy of Letters, to develop city-wide policies for integration and equity.

The Huffington Post highlights IntegrateNYC4Me


A Group Of Bronx Teens Are Trying To Transform New York City’s Segregated Schools

“This is the power of school integration. It has the power to open minds and open doors for so many people.”

NEW YORK — Spending a day at an affluent, mostly white high school in Brooklyn led Bronx Academy of Letters student Shania Russell to grapple with some complex feelings. 

The high school junior, who is black, attends a school where most students are black or Latino. Her day in Brooklyn was part of an exchange program designed to help students connect with teens from other backgrounds. 

“The point is that we already attend a really good school, and so do the other kids,” she told classmates, reading from a sheet of paper on which she’d written about her experience at the school in another borough. 

“But we also attend very different schools, and we attend them separately,” Shania continued. “And unfortunately, that means there are resources that just aren’t fairly allocated between us, and there are opportunities that are not fairly distributed between us. And there’s something fundamentally wrong with that.”