As President Trump aggressively ramped up his efforts on deportation of immigrants, several states are now enforcing sanctuary schools. Larkin and Lacey of the Frontera Fund say this will help ease anxiety among families, worried about ICE raids.
From California to Miami, public schools are refusing to release public information or immigration status of students. Under the federal law, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99, student records are protected, unless the school is served with a court order.
In May, 2017, the second largest school district in the United States told schools in Los Angeles County they would be deemed as safe areas for students and their families and they now prohibit immigration agents from entering their campuses, without prior authorization from government authorities. Many states have followed suit, and created the same resolutions, but officials say they are over-promising protections.
Los Angeles schools have stressed that parents can be assured, ICE officers will not be granted any admittance without prior authorization from the superintendent of schools. Additionally, they will consult with district attorneys. Schools have even gone one step further by saying, even with a subpoena they will not release information.
Larkin and Lacey point out how schools have held special teacher-training sessions so that school staff knows exactly what to say and do if immigration officers arrive. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
Immigration raids have already increased anxiety since arrests have occurred after parents were seen leaving schools.
Can Trump Stop Sanctuary?
During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to eliminate billions of dollars in federal funds from those districts that object to the government’s deportation plans, instead becoming “sanctuary cities.”
Larkin and Lacey say the President is simple saying that cities that choose to protect undocumented immigrants are doing something wrong and deserve punishment. Larkin and Lacey point out that schools are there to teach, not to enforce immigration issues.
Larkin and Lacey say even police leaders agree that cooperation with ICE makes their job more difficult because the community loses confidence in authorities.
Not to mention, the government withholding funds could leave them vulnerable to lawsuits. Larkin and Lacey also point out that in some situations, ICE detainers violate constitutional rights.
Many schools have realized a significant drop in attendance because parents fear being detained while retrieving children after school. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin say threatening to take away federal funds will not deter sanctuary cities, and this is but one type of action the Frontera Fund advocates for.
Established in 2014, the Frontera Fund became a strong advocate to protect the civil and human rights for vulnerable people.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey started the organization after their illegal arrest in Arizona by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. One of the first campaigns, No More Deaths, began with funds from the Frontera Fund, and would not be the last. The Frontera Fund also supports Mexican migrants, discrimination, and violation of civil and constitutional rights.
Larkin and Lacey also play a significant role in organizing various groups to gain a larger network, and publicize and promote more campaigns. Overall, the Frontera Fund looks to ensure a fair and equitable community for everyone.