Article by the Oracle Editorial Board
Lea la versión en Español aquí.
In response to President Donald Trump’s deportation pledges, the University of California and California State University systems, as well as the local Foothill-De Anza Community College District, have adopted official resolutions declaring their support for undocumented students. Other California public school districts have adopted similar “safe haven” resolutions. Our district should do the same.
The security of undocumented students is at stake, and while immigration is highly politicized, the core of this issue is the idea of human rights. Undocumented students, who often have no choice in their status, have a right to education and safety.
We urge the Board of Trustees to pass immediately an official resolution that states the following:
- The district will adhere to its policy of not disclosing or collecting identifiable information regarding immigration status;
- The district will resist, through noncompliance or legal challenge, federal or state efforts to create a directory of undocumented immigrants or to otherwise obtain information regarding immigration status, even if required by law, judicial warrant, subpoena, or court order;
- The district will support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which defers deportation of recipients by two years, among other benefits.
Currently, the district hosts immigration attorneys to provide legal information regarding the rights of undocumented immigrants. Administration also publicly stated their support for undocumented students in an email addressed to the MVLA community, in which they reiterated that the district “[does]not and will not collect or disclose citizenship status about any student or their family.”
While we commend the district for their current efforts, we strongly encourage them to further act by adopting our proposed resolution, which makes their statements official and enforceable in court.
We recognize the potential risks of an official resolution and the significance of asking the district to be potentially held in contempt of court, however unlikely that situation is. Possible ramifications include federal backlash, according to Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen, and “a daily fine, compensatory fine, or [rare]incarceration of key personnel,” according to an attorney who requested not to be identified, respectively.
The district’s stated willingness to assume risks in order to support our undocumented community would add weight to the declaration, and we should not fear the repercussions of upholding our values. Moreover, an official resolution would be a stand in solidarity with other institutions that have made similar decisions and would serve as a precedent for other school districts to follow suit.
MVHS junior Osmin Quijano, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, said Trump’s promises were “really scary because, for example, I have my brothers, and I — I don’t have papers.”
Quijano said he thinks a district resolution would help.
“They can show that they agree with immigrants or that they want to help immigrants,” Quijano said. “The school can show that…if we are from different places or cultures we have the same opportunities…and show that, for example, to the parents that we can be safe at the school.”
Students should feel safe at school, not fearful, especially in such a tumultuous, uncertain time. Case law has affirmed undocumented students’ constitutional right to education, and fear of possible deportation assisted by information provided by their school should not interfere with that right.