Coming together to influence immigration reform-America & Mexico teacher federations unite

- Have you ever had a bad situation at home that seemed to overshadow every area of your life?  Millions of kids are said to be facing just that.  So two groups are coming together to try to change that.  "I came to the United States to get my education and a better job and a better life," declares 18 year old Alicia who only has an elementary school education.  Alicia is alone and homeless here in the United States but working toward a better future and trying to become a U.S. citizen.

"Life in Mexico is really hard because it's hard to get a job and to maintain a family and it's even harder to go to school," Alicia adds.

 The folks attending a Downtown Houston conference say Alicia is just like too many other kids, who, often because of deportation live in completely different countries than their parents.

"Kids have really been hurt.  Kids whose parents are deported end up suffering physical and psychological trauma.  Children who are in this situation have higher dropout rates," explains American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. 

For the first time the American Federation of Teachers and it's equivalent in Mexico, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educacion (SNTE) are teaming up.

"We must not leave behind millions of children who depend on this quality education to improve their lives," says SNTE President  Juan Diaz de la Torre. 

In this collaboration they plan to offer more support for kids and critical resources for parents.

"With these efforts we will benefit the lives of millions and millions of children to have a better quality of life," explains Diaz de la Torre.

"The xenophobia and the racism is wrong.  Part of what we're doing is showing, by our working together, that we as teachers can actually create bridges not walls," adds Weingarten.

The group also hopes their unity will influence U.S. law makers and encourage immigration reform.

"The golden rule, do unto others as you would like others to do unto you," says Weingarten.  
 

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