Reports from news media and immigrant rights advocates indicate new Trump administration immigration enforcement raids are underway in several states, including Arizona, California, Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia. Advocates and media outlets are reporting chaos in schools and communities affected by the raids. In a North Carolina community, students witnessed arrests. Other communities are reporting that immigration agents are following schools buses.
Children are fearful to go to school. Parents are desperately trying to find guardians for their children in the event they are detained or deported. We’ve seen this before. And it’s happening again. This time, it is happening in the middle of the night or as students load up buses and head to school. This time it is happening without any oversight, review, or due process.
The current raids are immigration raids in our communities. beyond reprehensible, they are inhumane, and they are a deliberate and coordinated attack on those who come to América seeking safety, freedom, and opportunity, and, in the process, make América a better country.
The current raids are beyond reprehensible, they are inhumane, and they are a deliberate and coordinated attack on those who come to América seeking safety, freedom, and opportunity, and, in the process, make América a better country.
These shocked and frightened families are our friends and our neighbors. Our students are collateral damage as a result of these raids. The heightened environment of intimidation and fear in immigrant neighborhoods is carried into classrooms by traumatized students.
As the president’s administration threatens our students, their families, and our way of life, we will not stay silent.
As families turn to their children’s educators for solace and advice, we are going accelerate ongoing efforts to create and implement commonsense policies like our public school safe zones where all students are welcome.
Public school safe zones allow school boards to go on the record to that they won’t allow immigration enforcement agents into their schools without a proper review process and that they are committed to the protection of student privacy via practices ensuring that no data is being collected with respect to students’ immigration status or place of birth.
We call on the president’s administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to put an immediate stop to these abhorrent immigration raids in our communities.
Lily Eskelsen García is President for the National Education Association (NEA) and Noel Candelaria is the President of the and Texas State Teachers Association.