Equity & Diversity

Minneapolis District Declares Itself a ‘Safe Place’ for Immigrants

By Denisa R. Superville — December 14, 2016 2 min read
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The Minneapolis school system has become the latest to pass a resolution affirming that the district’s schools are “safe places” for all students, regardless of their immigration status or national origin.

Districts such as Los Angeles Unified and Denver have passed similar resolutions since Donald Trump was elected president last month. During the campaign Trump called for deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and barring Muslims from entering the country.

The resolutions, approved in districts that educate large numbers of immigrant students, aim in part to tamp down anxieties that have been fueled by Trump’s victory. Since winning the election, Trump has tempered some of his talk on immigration, including in a recent interview with Time magazine when he said his administration will “work something out” for so-called Dreamers—young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. He offered no specifics on what that plan would be.

Last week, Los Angeles Unified, which has passed a resolution declaring its schools “safe zones” for undocumented students, set up a hotline and support centersto help answer questions from worried parents and students.

The Minneapolis resolution, which was approved unanimously by the school board Tuesday, says, among other things, that district employees, volunteers, and contractors are not to inquire about students’ or their parents’ immigration status; should refrain from asking students to produce documentation about their or their parents’ immigration status; and should not release information about students’ immigration status, unless compelled to by a valid court order.

District employees, contractors, and volunteers must also notify the superintendent and the school system’s attorney about any attempts by officials with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to gain access to district property.

“It is not the role of the district as an educational organization to ask about the citizenship or immigration status of any of its students or families, or to enforce federal immigration laws,” the district said in a statement. “It has been the practice of the district to only provide information when required by law or a valid court order.

“MPS will continue to ensure all students have equitable access to educational and extracurricular opportunities, including rigorous courses, engaging activities, high-quality athletics and supportive services, regardless of immigration status.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.