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CHC Requests Meeting with Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Jun 7, 2018
Press Release
Washington, DC – Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), led by Representatives José Serrano (NY-15), CHC Education and Labor Chair Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03), CHC Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) and CHC leadership sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos extending an invitation to meet with CHC members before Congress departs for the August District Work Period. The letter follows recent comments made by the Secretary during a House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing where she indicated that schools should decide whether to report undocumented student children to immigration authorities. 
 
CHC members highlighted the important role the Department of Education plays in the lives of those they represent and the need to protect the civil rights of all students, foster a safe and inclusive campus environment, and ensure equitable access to a high-quality education.
 
“We write to extend an invitation to have you meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) before Congress departs for the August District Work Period. A meeting with CHC members will give you the opportunity to provide an update from the Department, listen to critical feedback from our members, and establish a much-needed dialogue on the problems currently facing our nation’s public education system,” the Members wrote.
 
 “Within the past year, the CHC has had the opportunity to meet with other Trump Administration officials, including Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and General John Kelly, both in his former capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security and current position as White House Chief of Staff. The CHC has reached out to several cabinet secretaries, and we welcome and encourage their participation,” they continued.
 
They closed by saying: “This will provide you with the opportunity to correct and clarify the department’s ongoing adherence to Plyler v. Doe, which affirms the constitutional right of all children to a public K-12 education, regardless of a child’s or a child’s parent’s immigration status. Given that the Hispanic community has been disproportionately impacted by these statements, it is critical that we meet with you to discuss how it impacts the children and families we represent.  ”
 
In addition to Reps. Serrano, Grijalva and CHC Chair Lujan Grisham the following members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus signed the letter:  First Vice Chair Joaquin Castro (TX-20); Second Vice Chair Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07); Whip Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31); and Freshman Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13).
 
The official letter can be found here.
 
TEXT OF LETTER
 
June 6, 2018
 
The Honorable Betsy DeVos
Secretary
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
 
Dear Secretary DeVos:
 
We write to extend an invitation to have you meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) before Congress departs for the August District Work Period. A meeting with CHC members will give you the opportunity to provide an update from the Department, listen to critical feedback from our members, and establish a much-needed dialogue on the problems currently facing our nation’s public education system.
 
Within the past year, the CHC has had the opportunity to meet with other Trump Administration officials, including Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and General John Kelly, both in his former capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security and current position as White House Chief of Staff. The CHC has reached out to several cabinet secretaries, and we welcome and encourage their participation.
 
The Department of Education plays a vital role in the lives of the communities we represent, from administering disaster recovery aid in Puerto Rico and protecting the civil rights of all students, to fostering safe and inclusive campus environments and ensuring equitable access to a high-quality education. We wish to discuss these items with you as well as the many actions the department has taken since you became secretary nearly 16 months ago. Moreover, your recent comments on undocumented students at an Education and Workforce Committee hearing have raised concerns among our members. This will provide you with the opportunity to correct and clarify the department’s ongoing adherence to Plyler v. Doe, which affirms the constitutional right of all children to a public K-12 education, regardless of a child’s or a child’s parent’s immigration status. Given that the Hispanic community has been disproportionately impacted by these statements, it is critical that we meet with you to discuss how it impacts the children and families we represent. 
 
Thank you for your full consideration of this request, and we look forward to having you join us to discuss the many important issues facing our education system and the impact it has on our community. To arrange the details of a meeting, your staff may contact CHC Executive Director, Alma Acosta, at Alma.Acosta@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-1164.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
###
 
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.