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Teaching Profession

AFT President Weingarten Arrested at Protest for Dreamers

By Liana Loewus — December 07, 2017 1 min read

Randi Weingarten, the president of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions, was arrested outside the U.S. Capitol as the result of an act of civil disobedience in support of undocumented students and teachers.

The activists gathered to protest efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era policy that grants temporary deportation reprieves and work permits to people who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

About 250,000 school-age children and 20,000 K-12 teachers have become eligible for the program since it went into place in 2012. It currently protects an estimated 800,000 immigrants, often known as “Dreamers.”

President Trump announced in September he would end the DACA program, but Democrats and some Republicans are hoping to find a legislative vehicle to continue the program.

At the demonstration held yesterday, more than 180 people, including union leaders from Texas and Florida, were arrested and charged with “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding,” Politico reports. The misdemeanor carries a $50 fine.

Weingarten, who heads the American Federation of Teachers, has been arrested previously, including in New York City in 2014 at a demonstration after the death of Eric Garner, who was choked by a police officer.

Image: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten speaks at a news conference on American labor on Capitol Hill in Washington last month. —Andrew Harnik/AP

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.