California teacher goes viral for offering spare room to students whose parents have been deported

An English teacher in California is going viral after he and his wife offered to take in students whose parents have been deported.

“Students, I know I've talked to some of you about this and mentioned it in class,” James Tilton, a 30-year-old teacher from Lancaster, wrote in a tweet earlier this month that has since been making the rounds on social media.

“But, in light of recent statements from the President,” he continued, “it feels worth repeating: my wife and I are foster certified and have an extra room if your parents are deported and you need a place to stay.”


His tweet arrived shortly after the Trump administration paused an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation that would have deported an estimated 2,000 families, pending negotiations in Congress.

Tilton told “Good Morning America” in an interview that aired Tuesday that he talked to his wife “to make sure our home was available if a student would need it” after one of his students came to him devastated last year because her mother was deported.

Although the student had a place to stay, Tilton told the publication that “it got me thinking about what it would look like for a kid who is allowed to stay here but his or her parents aren’t.”

According to the publication, the majority of students attending the high school where Tilton teaches are Hispanic, and number of them are undocumented.

Diana, one of Tilton’s former students who is undocumented, told the publication that “there have been several times where if something came on the news or if we heard of ICE checkpoints and my dad hadn’t been home from work yet, there was a lot of fear.” 

"I always went to Mr. Tilton’s class and would tell him about my fears because I couldn’t talk to my parents because I didn’t want to stress them even more," she continued. "He would always listen and be really supportive."

"To have a teacher tell us that we are important and our safety and well-being is important, his offering of the room was like a physical manifestation of the space we already took up in his heart," she added.