Immigration activists in Waukegan, Illinois, balked at a proposal that would rename a local middle school after former President Barack Obama.
“I will not be part of renaming a school after someone who did not and does not represent the undocumented community,” Waukegan school board member Edgar Castellanos said at a board meeting, according to ABC 7 Chicago. The school board is currently debating a proposal to rename Thomas Jefferson Middle School due to the third president’s ownership of slaves.
As the Waukegan Community Unit School District No. 60 board considers a new name for Thomas Jefferson Middle School, some residents of the Latino-majority city do not want to see it named for former President Barack Obama.https://t.co/Vn1PEJ5wo6
— WBBM Newsradio (@WBBMNewsradio) March 31, 2021
Throughout his presidency, Obama drew criticism on the immigration issue from Republicans and Democrats. Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by executive order, held unaccompanied minor children in facilities and deported a record 409,849 illegal immigrants in 2012. (RELATED: Trump Says Obama ‘Never Had The Legal Right’ To Implement DACA)
“If you’re removing the name of Thomas Jefferson—one oppressor—the name of Obama is another oppressor and our families do not want to see that name,” activist Julie Contreras of the group United Giving Hope told ABC 7 Chicago.
“That’s millions of families that were affected and separated, many of whom reside right here in Waukegan. The fear that many of my friends faced of never seeing their parents again after coming home from school still resonates with me,” Oscar Arias told WBBM NewsRadio.
Obama is the latest Democrat politician to come under fire from school board activists. The San Francisco Board of Education considered renaming Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, along with 43 other schools, although it paused the renaming campaign to focus on reopening schools.