Conexion Americas, the convener and leading member of the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition (TEEC), has issued a letter to Sens. Alexander and Corker asking them to continue Obama’s administrative bypass of Congress that unilaterally created the questionable DACA program.
Gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd’s education non-profit Complete Tennessee, on which Conexion Americas’ founder and executive director Renata Soto serves as a board member, is listed as a State Partner on the TEEC website.
TEEC was established in March 2016. Complete Tennessee was established in September 2016, about the same time that Randy Boyd and his wife Jenny Boyd donated $250,000 to Conexion Americas.
TEEC says that students who arrived in Tennessee in violation of U.S. immigration law deserve “educational equity:”
As members of the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition, we write you to express our support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition is a diverse group of civil rights and education advocacy organizations whose goal is to build a shared advocacy agenda to address achievement and opportunity gaps for students across the state. We write you to respectfully request that you support the DACA program and that you urge President Trump to keep the DACA program intact until a legislative solution is passed.
One of the guiding policy principals for the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition is that all students in our state deserve equitable and appropriate resources and supports. We believe that every child — regardless of their age, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity or documentation status — deserves to have an excellent education. We support DACA because research shows that having a path to higher education and employment increases student achievement, graduation rates, and participation in higher education. We advocate for all students to be able to reach their postsecondary and career dreams, and DACA provides an opportunity for over 8,000 students in Tennessee to do just that.
TEEC is asking supporters of their agenda to co-sign the letter.
The TEEC claims to advocate on behalf of all “students of color,” but in reality, the all female coalition staff are Conexion employees and the initiatives are dominated by Conexion’s mission of serving Latinos in Tennessee. The all female Steering Committee, while more racially and regionally diverse is gender homogeneous.
The TEEC has only been in operation a short time, having organized in early 2016 but has already met with 32 state legislators to share their education policy recommendations. Prior to that, they met with Corker requesting his support to continue Obama’s DACA amnesty program.
In 2007, during Corker’s first term, a comprehensive immigration reform bill was introduced that would have given legal status and a path to citizenship for 12 million illegal aliens. Speaking on the Senate floor, Corker said, that to be “fair to American citizens,” illegal aliens should have to leave and then re-enter the U.S. before they could apply to be here legally.
By 2013, Corker flipped to supporting the “Gang of Eight” bill which would allow illegal aliens to remain in the U.S. and apply for RPI – “registered provisional status” which the Congressional Budget Office listed as a legalization category.
The “legislative solution” referred to in TEEC’s letter to Alexander and Corker is another bipartisan “Dream Act” introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Dick Durbin both of whom were part of the 2013 “Gang of Eight” comprehensive immigration reform bill. Both Alexander and Corker helped pass that bill in the Senate but it was never taken up in the House.
Importantly, the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill would have cured the illegal immigration status problem for “Dreamers” since it provided a direct path to citizenship for illegal aliens graduating from U.S. high schools, attending college or entering the military. Corker’s enthusiasm and support for the 2013 bill may very well signal his support for the legislative solution sought by TEEC.