Charter Parents Share Immigration Stories

At times, the parent book club meeting at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy‘s Burlington campus in Los Angeles felt like a group therapy session.

That’s because the book – a nonfiction story about 19 Mexican immigrants who died while trying to cross the border in Texas 14 years ago – hit close to home. Many of the charter school’s book club parents are undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

In Spanish, one mother recounted her border crossing from Mexico. She said that when nearing the San Diego freeway, the eight members of her group – her mother and sisters – resembled a duck and her ducklings. With tears streaming down her face, she expressed gratitude for having safely reached her new home with her family. Another mother recalled certain details: getting only one bottle of water per day, a treacherous desert passage with little food, traveling by night.

“We didn’t come here because we wanted to,” she told fellow book club members in Spanish. “We came here because we needed to. We come for the American Dream but sometimes what we pay for it is very costly.”

“This story is so connected to our families,” said Susana Interiano, the school’s student and family services coordinator who facilitates the book club.

Besides sharing some difficult stories from their past, the moms expressed their love for the United States and their pride that their children are receiving a high quality education.

The California Charter Schools Association has signed Stand for Children’s letter urging continued federal support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects undocumented students. CCSA will continue to advocate for the tens of thousands of immigrant families in our charter school community.

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