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Eye On Education: Somerville High School Focuses On Supporting Dreamers

SOMERVILLE (CBS) -- While the fate of DACA remains unclear, two Republican Senators have introduced a new bill to address the children of illegal immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The bill, while still in its early stages, could offer a path to citizenship.

President Trump's decision to end DACA came in early September and gave Congress six months to come up with an alternative. Since then, 8,000 Massachusetts students and dreamers have been unsure of what their future will hold.

In a city with one of the highest immigrant populations in the state, teachers at Somerville High School are doing their best to keep these kids focused on learning.

Somerville High School (WBZ-TV)

25 percent of the city's population, about 20,00 people, is immigrants.

"Our job is to educate students, our job is to support students, our job is to help them dream, and to do, and to learn, and not to think about, unfortunately, what's going on outside," said Anne Eden, an ELL teacher at Somerville High.

While she works to coach English language learners, she said, "we don't ask students what their status is, we work with students and try to support them with whatever they bring to us."

Anne Eden, Somerville High School ELL Teacher (WBZ-TV)

Those who are living in the US illegally can be seen facing competing school and legal anxieties.

Eden said, "I'm impressed that they come to school, that they love learning, that they have these dreams for themselves and that shouldn't change because of something that might or might not happen."

She tells the students that uncertainty is a part of life and they should keep working as hard as they have been.

Kevin Alegria and Jose Pleitz are recent graduates from Somerville High School and are enrolled in DACA. They work, attend Bunker Hill Community College and help support younger siblings.

Kevin Alegria and Jose Pleitz (WBZ-TV)

"With the six months coming, I'm just afraid that I won't be able to work and help my mom support my family," said Alegria.

Pleitz said he had a message for his brother and sister as they continued their education.

"Just keep studying, do your best, graduate, keep creating otherwise people are gonna be right, I guess, about us not being hard-working."

Immigration lawyers have been brought in to help explain what students' options are.

Eden said teachers and administrators also meet to talk about how to offer support but "as much as possible, we're trying to keep politics out of school."

The Somerville Public Schools website has information and resources for immigrants.

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