U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos last week embraced the notion that individual schools can decide to report students and families to immigration enforcement – an assertion at odds with the U.S. Constitution, DHS sensitive location policy, and basic decency and humanity.
At a House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) asked Secretary DeVos, “if a principal or a teacher finds out that a certain child is undocumented, or his or her family members are undocumented, do you feel that the principal or teacher is responsible to call [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and to have that family reported?” Secretary DeVos said, “Sir, I think that’s a school decision … That’s a local community decision. And again, I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate, and I urge this body to do its job and address or clarify where there is confusion around this.”
According to Pili Tobar, Managing Director of América’s Voice: “The Supreme Court has ruled that every child in the United States has a right to an education regardless of their immigration status. Secretary Devos is either ignorant of the precedent or purposely following the rest of the Trump administration down the same anti-immigrant rabbit hole and adding one more thing to the list of cruel policies targeting and endangering children.
“That a Secretary of Education would imply that sensitive locations like schools — which should be a safe haven environment focused on learning and the well-being of kids — can and should consider calling immigration enforcement on children is simply appalling, evil and inhumane. The administration must clarify DHS’s position before this unleashes panic on immigrant children and families throughout the country.”