'We Reject Politics of Fear': Groups Urge Congress to Build Schools, Not Wall

More than 150 advocacy groups sent a letter (pdf) to Congress on Thursday urging lawmakers to reject President Donald Trump’s proposal to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall and spend the money on education instead.

Trump’s “targeting of Muslims, refugees, and undocumented immigrants…are eroding the trust built by educators, parents, law enforcement, and communities over decades,” the letter states.

Its signatories include the Center for Popular Democracy, SEIU, and the National Immigration Law Center, among other community groups and labor unions.

“Public schools are the cornerstone of our civic and economic infrastructure,” it reads. “Their work is already complicated enough. Yet schools in low-income communities and in predominantly African-American and immigrant neighborhoods have struggled for too long with a lack of resources. Instead of separating families and building walls, we must invest in our schools as part of our nation’s infrastructure. Stronger schools are schools where teachers have the tools they need to teach, students have access to a broad and rich curriculum, and families and students are welcomed, supported, engaged, and safe.”

The letter described the experience of a teacher in Milwaukee whose second-grade student “crawled into her lap crying [and] told her, ‘I am so scared that somebody is going to take my daddy away.'”

“These are the words of a six-year-old child, crying and afraid in school,” the letter reads. “His teacher says, ‘You can’t teach like that. You can’t learn like that.'”