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Los Angeles School Board To Create New Barriers For ICE

On May 9, every member of the Los Angeles school board voted in favor of a series of measure to afford more protections from raids by federal immigration officers.

"L.A. Unified is basically saying fear stops at [our] door," the measure's co-sponsor, school board member Ref Rodriguez, told The Los Angeles Times.

The new rules ban immigration officers from being allowed on school grounds without permission from the district superintendent, who will not grant it without first speaking to lawyers, regardless of whether or not they have a subpoena.

"The record number of deportations in recent years has tragically broken apart loving families, devastated communities, and caused widespread fear," the resolution says.

Faculty members are advised to tell immigration officers to stay away, should they show up to campus. They are to then notify their higher-ups, who will decide how to proceed.

"This is an important opportunity for LAUSD to be a model for the state and for the nation,” said Sylvia Torres-Guillen, director of education equity for ACLU of California.

In February 2016, the school board voted in favor of similar regulations which included workshops for families and training for faculty.

"My families and students are living in a constant state of fear," Principal Sascha Robinett of PUC Milagro Charter School in Lincoln Heights said at the school board meeting before the vote.

Fear of immigration officers grew in the school district after Lincoln Heights father Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was filmed being taken into custody by immigration enforcement on Feb. 28 after living in the U.S. for more than 25 years, according to KTLA.

In the viral video, 13-year-old Fatima Avelica, who is filming, sobs audibly while her father is taken into an unmarked car. He reportedly had a prior conviction for driving under the influence in 2009.

"Seizing parents on their way to or from dropping off their children at school will lead to students staying home, disrupting their education and negatively impacting our learning communities," United Teachers Los Angeles said in a statement, according to KTLA. "Documented or not, all children have the right to a public education free from fear and intimidation. It's wrong to target a student's family, whether in school, on their way to school, or coming home from school."

L.A. resident Angelina Calderon graduated from the district and has some family members that have legal status, while others don't, according to The Times. She said that her nephews are taught not to open the door "la migra could be there."

"These children should be engaged in learning and playing," she added. "Instead, they are surrounded by fear."

Sources: The Los Angeles Times, KTLA / Photo Credit: Police/Wikimedia Commons

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