SACRAMENTO, March 30, 2018 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued new guidance to help California’s public K-12 schools and other local educational agencies develop policies to protect the rights of undocumented students and their families. The guide is designed to help schools better understand protections that safeguard the privacy of undocumented students and their families, and to serve as a model for local school districts.
“Every student, regardless of immigration status, is entitled to feel safe and secure at school,” said Attorney General Becerra. “In California, nearly half of all children have at least one immigrant parent. It’s our duty as public officials and school administrators to uphold the rights of these students so that their education is not disrupted.”
Approximately 250,000 undocumented children ages 3-17 are enrolled in California public schools and 750,000 K-12 students in California have an undocumented parent—illuminating the need for the state and its educators to do everything within their control to ensure that all California schools are safe havens for their students and families.
The guide provides recommendations for handling personal information from students and their families. It also provides guidance on how to respond to: information requests regarding immigration status; a warrant or court order regarding immigration enforcement; immigration agents requesting access to school grounds; hate crimes related to national origin; and the detention of a student’s family member.
This guide is being issued pursuant to Assembly Bill 699 (AB 699) by joint authors Assemblymembers Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco). AB 699 was passed to address the fear and confusion expressed by school officials in the wake of the Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement-related activities and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The guide describes courses of actions that public schools and their administrators can take when interacting with officers who are enforcing immigration laws.
“ICE has no place in our classrooms,” said Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach). “As a teacher, I know firsthand that students cannot learn if they feel fear. Thank you to Attorney General Xavier Becerra for working to keep our schools as learning environments, not detention centers.”
“Students should not fear going to school, and parents should have confidence that their children are in a safe, educational environment,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “Thank you Attorney General Becerra for ensuring this law is fully implemented and our children are protected.”
To view the guidance, quick-reference guide and checklist visit: https://www.oag.ca.gov/bcj.
The checklist is available in Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, and Arabic.
Since assuming office, Attorney General Becerra has worked to protect immigrant communities through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws and consumer protections. Attorney General Becerra secured a preliminary injunction preventing the Trump Administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and compelling the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to continue accepting and processing DACA authorization renewals. Attorney General Becerra has also provided consumers with important information about how to protect themselves from scam artists who pretend to be immigration attorneys or consultants and ultimately cheat vulnerable people out of their money.
To learn more about the Attorney General’s immigrant rights work, visit: https://oag.ca.gov/immigrant.