The Los Angeles Unified School District is the latest California organization to declare its premises to be a safe place from immigration enforcement. The school board has adopted a resolution reaffirming protections already in place for minority and immigrant students and taking a firmer stance in some areas. The Reaffirmation of Los Angeles Unified School District Schools as Safe Zones for Families Threatened by Immigration Enforcement resolution was adopted Tuesday, to the applause of the attending audience.
In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all children in the U.S. have the right to a free and appropriate public education — even unauthorized immigrants. Schools may not deny education to children due to their immigration status. And, as we have discussed on this blog before, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agents have recently been accused of using misleading tactics when seeking to arrest people for immigration violations.
In February, for example, ICE agents arrested an immigrant father when he dropped his 12-year-old daughter off at school. This occurred after reports came in about ICE agents misidentifying themselves as police in order to gain entry to homes, and others in which agents were found haunting courthouses to nab suspected unauthorized immigrants as they took care of their legal business.
Such tactics have already created fear among minorities and immigrants. In March, Mayor Eric Garcetti cited evidence that some immigrant and minority families are avoiding community centers, libraries and parks, as public spaces could be targeted by ICE agents.
“This fear continues to rise daily, and the stress affects our kids’ ability to concentrate and therefore learn and grow,” confirmed one charter school principal. Fear makes it harder for many kids to learn.
The series of events led to the passage of a number of sanctuary city bills, along with the creation of a school/community group called California Schools Are Sanctuaries.
The new sanctuary resolution instructs school personnel not to enter into any agreements with immigration officials or to share confidential information about students with them, including their immigration status. The USCIS and ICE should not be allowed onto district property “for the purpose of removing students or their family members, or obtaining information about students and their families,” reads the resolution.