The following is a message from Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati regarding President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

New SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati. Photo courtesy of SMMUSD.

We understand the concern and fear felt by our families and communities regarding the Trump administration’s recent decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. I share these concerns and I am deeply disappointed in this decision.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education and I reaffirm our commitment to providing all school-aged students with access to an excellent education and the opportunities that education provides without regard to their immigration status or the immigration status of their parents. As outlined in our Board of Education resolution dated December 15, 2016, our campuses will continue to be “safe zones.” Read the full resolution by the SMMUSD Board of Education.

SMMUSD has shared resources that may be helpful to families facing immigration issues.

We will also be providing information to our families regarding special workshops by local organizations on this topic in the coming weeks.

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SMMUSD continues to protect values that are close to our parents, students, teachers, staff and the communities of Santa Monica and Malibu. Values that include treating one another with mutual respect, dignity, trust and fairness, regardless of immigration status, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, disability or sexual orientation. We continue to offer equity and access to an excellent education to ALL students.

DACA is a program established by President Barack Obama in 2012 that grants a form of temporary protection from deportation known as “deferred action” to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16, have resided here since 2007 and meet other requirements. The Trump administration’s announcement leaves Congress with a six-month window to possibly save the policy.