SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – As tensions rise over separation of migrant families at the southern border, the Salt Lake City School Board is taking a stand against that action and vowing to refuse customs enforcement actions at schools without a warrant.
Upholding its 2017 Safe School Resolution, the board announced Tuesday that unless ICE authorities have a signed warrant by a federal or state judge or magistrate, they will not be granted access to schools.
Board member Nate Salazar said it’s a real fear many immigrant parents have, especially in the diverse school district, whose student population is about 60 percent ethnic minority.
“I believe our children and our families need to know that their school district is by their side,” said Salazar, who added that the district also adopted the Resolution for the Protection of Children, denouncing recent action taken to separate migrant families in order to secure the border.
The 2017 Safe School Resolution also states the district will not ask students about their immigration status or that of their family.
Sugey Rodriguez, an undocumented immigrant with children in area schools, says she fears ICE action will be taken against her and that her family will be separated, possibly while her children are at school.
“We’re scared – my family, if we’re gonna be separated. I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” she said. Rodriguez came to the United States 16 years ago to work and to escape growing violence in Sinaloa, Mexico. She said she is working to become documented, but the process is very difficult. Currently, her husband is undergoing the appeals process to avoid deportation.
“I feel safe here. Mexico is not safe for my kids,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said the district’s actions will help families afraid of increasing ICE action. Still, ICE considers schools as “sensitive areas” and action is very rarely taken their barring “exigent circumstances.”
However, SLCSD is working to figure out what its process will be to help any student that could be separated from family members.