Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

LA resolution makes public schools sanctuaries from ICE

Danielle Anzures, Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Unified school board, also known as the LAUSD, passed a resolution May 9 to make campuses more safe for immigrant students and their families against deportation or detainment by ICE agents. The resolution, proposed by board members Monica Garcia and Ref Rodriguez, comes shortly after the arrest of Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, an undocumented immigrant who ICE agents detained as he took his daughter at school.

“My father was detained in front of me on Feb. 28 on the way to school,” said, 13-year-old, Fatima Avelica who filmed her father getting arrested on her phone. Officials from ICE said they arrested Avelica-Gonzalez because of prior criminal convictions that includes a DUI conviction from 2009 and an outstanding order of removal from 2014. Avelica-Gonzalez remains detained at Adelanto Detention Facility, according to Jennifer Cuevas, who represents his two daughters.

“I’m here to ask that the (LAUSD makes) schools sanctuaries so that nobody else can pass through what I passed through and not be scared to go to school,” Avelica said at the morning press conference for board vote on the resolution where she stood with her family.

Garcia and Rodriguez created the resolution with several organizations including the ACLU and California Charter Schools Association called California Schools Are Sanctuaries Coalition, which formed in response to Avelica-Gonzalez’s arrest.

While the new resolution seems like a repeat of the 2016 measure passed by the board that made any LAUSD campus a “safe place” for immigrants and their families, it now includes more regulations including that schools can’t ask students or their families about immigration status, districts need to create “Know Your Rights” presentations that teach students the rights they and their families have when interacting with immigration police or law enforcement, and district employees being allowed to not share information with police.

“We know that there are things beyond our capacity, so we are not offering any undocumented students or their families or an employee a magic bullet,” Garcia said just before the vote. “What we are saying out loud is that we are going to focus on doing our job and that our students, our families, their support, they are welcome in our schools.”

“We are living in uncertain times where many of our families and children are living in fear,” said Linda Lopez, chief of the office of immigrant affairs for Los Angeles, representing Mayor Eric Garcetti during comments before the vote, according to Los Angeles Daily News.

“Many of our families are afraid that they will deported. And part of our job as government is to reassure them that we will continue to be there to support them.”

Since the November election Board President Steve Zimmer said immigrants have been fearful of law enforcement action, saying the fear is “constant”. “It is aggressive. It is invasive, and it is interrupting our process of public education, and that is why it is altogether appropriate that this board…take this action today,” he said before the vote.

“This act of noncooperation follows in an important history of noncooperation with unjust laws, unjust actions that are contrary to our Constitution and contrary to our value system, but also contrary to our mission as a school district,” said Zimmer.

 

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
LA resolution makes public schools sanctuaries from ICE