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Conn. Officials Look to Protect Students from Immigration Raids

Many state officials in the education sector have said they won’t cooperate with federal immigration officers.

Education officials in New Haven, Connecticut, are preparing for possible changes to immigration policies under President Donald Trump.

New Haven Board of Education COO Will Clark presented a draft policy at a recent meeting that indicated the district will not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials if they seek assistance targeting undocumented students, according to the New Haven Register.

Clark formed a committee to write the policy, which states that all requests submitted by federal immigration authorities will be denied and forwarded to the superintendent of schools, who would require federal agents to produce a signed warrant.

The draft policy also reaffirms the legality of current immigration protocols in the district by citing a Supreme Court decision allowing undocumented students to receive a free public education and the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act, which gives students and their families privacy protections.

There is currently guidance created under former President Barack Obama that states immigration work should not be conducted in schools, but many people believe Trump’s anti-immigrant stance will lead to a repeal of that guidance.

The proposal came before Trump’s inauguration in a proactive move Clark said was important.

“I don’t want to just wait for [Trump] to take office for us to do it,” Clark said at the meeting. “I want to make a statement on where we stand on these issues.”

The policy and others like it have gained widespread support from other officials in the state. Interim Superintendent of Schools Reginald Mayo said he wanted the policy to go further to outline how far superintendents can go when resisting federal authorities.

“I want to give a strong statement that we are protective of our kids and we want to keep our kids in school,” Mayo said. “But you don’t want to break the law, per se.”

RELATED: Texas Governor Threatens to Cut Funding to Immigrant ‘Sanctuary Schools’

In a similar development, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian and all 17 college presidents in that system signed letters asking the state lawmakers to support the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act, or the BRIDGE Act. The act would extend protections for undocumented immigrants that meet the criteria of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

Yale University President Peter Salovey also supported the BRIDGE Act after student protests erupted on campus.

Trump promised to deport two to three million immigrants with criminal records on 60 Minutes.

Campus Safety has reported on similar sanctuary policies at other school systems.

According to Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, Trump has a number of ways he could use executive authority to address so-called sanctuary campuses.

Vaughan’s proposed methods are listed below:

  • Rescind the Obama administration actions and policies that encourage and enable sanctuaries, including clarifying that local agencies are expected to comply with detainers;
  • Cut federal funding to sanctuaries;
  • Initiate civil litigation to enjoin state or local laws and policies that egregiously obstruct enforcement of federal immigration laws and regulations;
  • Selectively initiate prosecution under the alien harboring-and-shielding statute, which is a federal felony; and
  • When requested, issue administrative warrants to accompany detainers as a reasonable accommodation to state or local concerns. Negotiating over which aliens will be subject to detainers, as is current policy, is not a reasonable accommodation.
  • Direct [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to begin publishing a weekly report providing the public with information on all criminal aliens released by the sanctuaries.

Read Next: With Security High for Trump Inauguration, Campus Prepares

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