February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Editors Respond to DACA Decision


The Trump administration announced yesterday its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). In response, editors of School Library Journal (SLJ) released this statement.        

We, a team of editors, are dismayed by recent actions of the Trump administration.

The latest White House move to terminate DACA is shameful, crushing the dreams of 800,000 young people and striking a blow to the core principles of this country. This is not who we are.

We call out the vilification of these undocumented immigrants as “illegal aliens,” criminals, and “gang-bangers” by public officials for what it is: bigoted and discriminatory.

To the diverse community of librarians and educators and the children and teens whom they serve, we reiterate our support.


A sign greeted students at a Sacramento school on September 5, 2017. Photo credit: Larry Ferlazzo.

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  1. Kathy Lasley says:

    It is startling that our educators are unaware of the division of power in our government. Only Congress can make laws and we are left with this mess because of then President Obama and the lack of leadership from both he and Congress. What is inhumane and heartless is for us to decide which laws are okay to break and then counsel others to follow our lead. I continue to hope our Representatives and Senators will seriously do their job and quit denying their responsibility. Let’s use our time, energy, and $$ to guide immigrants on a legal path of citizenship.

  2. Linda Williams says:

    I do not read SLJ or any other library/books publication to learn the political or ideological leanings of the magazine staff or of ALA leadership; nor do I engage in activism in my workplace. Whatever disagreements there are should be handled at the voting booth and/or in one’s personal activities outside of work. While I encourage library users of voting age to register and provide materials from both left and right leanings, I do not allow my personal leanings to influence their vote nor should any librarian use it as a forum for agendas other than literacy and access to materials — the library is not and should not be a place for political showdowns.

    • Kathy Ishizuka Kathy Ishizuka says:

      Speaking on behalf of SLJ editors, Linda, our perspective here isn’t political. On moral grounds, we object to racism, and, moreover, are compelled to express our support of students and others who are at risk. We view this not as a partisan stand, either left or right, but a human one.

      • Linda Williams says:

        I have looked over the policies of my particular library system. I do not think my library’s policies are vastly different from any other. In a section detailing “Political Activities,” the policy states: “No employee shall make use of library time or equipment to aid a political candidate, political party, or political cause, or use a library position to persuade, coerce or intimidate any person in the interest of a political candidate, party or cause.”
        All of us object to racism, Kathy, but as you and the editors of SLJ well know, the issue of illegal immigration is a legal and a political one. As DACA involves the children of illegal immigrants, it too is a legal and political issue, one which was unfortunately dealt with by an impermanent executive order rather than by legislative action — something that hopefully will be rectified in the next six months. But by strongly voicing your opinion of the decision on DACA; your opposition to the White House decision (which you labeled “shameful”); and by labeling those politicians you disagree with (and by extension, their supporters) with labels like “bigoted” and “discriminatory,” and the issue itself as one of “racism,” you are engaging in political discourse, and of the worst kind, and you are using your position to advocate for a particular political cause. It isn’t appropriate for the workplace — nor should it be for professional journals. This is something that should be restricted to the personal “off-desk” time in your community with like-minded organizations or in conversation with your elected officials.

        • It is all political, Linda. You just don’t see the politics when they align with your own. In those books, magazines, etc., your agenda is “the norm.” More and more, people are recognizing that “the norm” or “neutral” space is not that. It never was.

          I’m glad for SLJ’s statement. I think the “this is not who we are” is a bit naive. For people of marginalized populations, much of society has been rather white and ignorant of Whiteness and its power. That is changing, though! And its a significant and important change.

      • Marques Cranston says:

        Ms. Ishizuka and SLJ Editors: whether your objections are moral, human or otherwise, they do not belong in this professional forum. Those who feel compelled to express unsolicited opinions should do so as Ms. Williams eloquently suggested – “at the voting booth and/or in one’s personal activities outside of work.”

        • Lisa Nowlain says:

          Linda and Marques: I believe it is professional to speak out about issues that affect our patrons. In the 60s, libraries in the South were segregated. Do you believe that librarians should have kept their mouths shut about that issue as well? Historically, we have needed to work to create change in an unjust system to be meeting our mission of serving all patrons in the best way possible. Unless we do, our libraries will continue a legacy of segregation by not supporting fair treatment of patrons.

      • Kathy Ishizuka: how can you casually equate other Americans’ opposition to illegal immigration with “racism”?

  3. SLJ, Thank you speaking out for those you serve. Few underrepresented people have a platform that allows their voices to be heard. Even fewer of those with such a platform are willing to use it to support issues of justice and equality. You did that here.

  4. Legal Immigrant says:

    To speak of what to do with the innocent DACA children, but not about what to do with the law-breaking DACA-children parents, is an exercise in virtue-signaling instead of being a serious policy proposal. Compassion needs to be balanced with respect for the law, and educators for children should be the first to underscore that principle.

  5. Miriam Lang Budin says:

    I applaud the editors of SLJ for speaking out in support of the 800,000 DACA recipients whose futures are jeopardized by rescinding their status.

    As children’s and teen librarians we should be committed to the well-being of these innocent members of our community. It is altogether correct for us to express our distress. Thank you for voicing concern.

    This is not about partisan politics. It is about the future of our children.

    Miriam Lang Budin
    Chappaqua Library, NY

  6. Barbara Lalicki says:

    I would like to echo Miriam Lang Budin, “This is not about partisan politics. It is about the future of our children.”

    • Actually, people who argue that this country should be governed by the rule of law are doing it for “the future of our children.”

  7. A teacher and a parent says:

    Why is it so hard for leftists to understand that many educators strongly favor diversity, but just as strongly favor both exclusively legal immigration and a non-imperial presidency where the President does not make overreaching executive orders when he or she is unable to get the Congress to pass wanted legislation?

  8. I, a reader, am dismayed by the editors’ injection of their personal opinion into a supposedly professional publication. If you feel compelled to vent, you can write a letter to the editor of your newspaper, like everyone else, but don’t hijack SLJ and make it your personal megaphone.

  9. Illegal alien is a completely generic legal term. It’s ridiculous that SLJ has descended to this level of absurdity. The statement from the editors reads like a poorly written comment on a Reddit sub or the like.

  10. I’ll call out Kathy ishizuka’s hypocrisy. If one of your editorial staff were anti-abortion, would they be justified in issuing a statement since they believe it is a moral issue? As a hispanic lobrarian who opposes daca I also do so for moral reasons, but you would automatically label me a racist? This knee jerk hypocrisy is an embarrassment to the profession.

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