Congress Looks at Immigration Raids

By Mary Ann Zehr — May 21, 2008 1 min read
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Grand Island, Neb., Greeley, Colo., New Bedford, Mass.--and now Postville, Iowa.

These are all communities where school officials have spontaneously had to figure out how to ensure that children didn’t go home to empty homes when their parents were arrested in immigration raids.

Yesterday, I attending a hearing on Capitol Hill in which a subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee looked at the impact of such raids on children. In an article posted at, I report on how Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a Democrat from California, is urging Congress to pass legislation that would put more teeth into existing guidelines of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that address humanitarian concerns of families involved in immigration enforcement activities.

One person who testified at the hearing was Kathryn M. Gibney, the principal of San Pedro Elementary School in San Rafael, Calif. She spoke about how schooling was disrupted after federal immigration officials swept through her school’s community in March 2007 looking for people who had prior deportation orders.

More than a year later, she said, “students who do make it to school remain distracted as they worry about whether their families will be at home when they return.”

For more about Ms. Gibney’s testimony, see an article published today in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Update: First Focus submitted written testimony on the matter to Congress today.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.