New Mexico Student Detained at School and Deported

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 14, 2007 1 min read
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The Roswell Independent School District in New Mexico has a policy that school officials don’t ascertain the immigration status of students, which complies with federal laws that entitle undocumented students to a free K-12 education. But that didn’t stop a school resource police officer from discovering that Karina Acosta, a senior at Roswell High School, was undocumented, detaining her at school, and referring her to immigration authorities, according to news reports from Roswell and Albuquerque (here and here). She was deported to Mexico this month. (I learned about this story over at

School officials are protesting the students’ arrest and, with the local police department, decided to remove all school resource officers from schools.

The school police officer pulled Ms. Acosta out of class after she was cited for a parking violation and driving without a license and had failed to provide proper identification, according to the Roswell Daily Record.

I’ve recently mentioned on this blog that a teenager and his family were deported from Tucson, Ariz., to Mexico after the boy was found by police to have marijuana in his backpack at school, and police called immigration authorities to the school. Tucson school officials were quoted in the newspapers afterward as saying they would not permit immigration authorities to step on campus. A couple of school districts have similar written policies in place.

But as these news reports show, undocumented students don’t have a guarantee that their schools are safe havens from immigration authorities.

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