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New York City Will Not Allow Immigration Agents in Schools Without Warrants


New York City, home to the nation's largest public school system, announced several measures this week aimed at protecting immigrant students and families.

Among them: the city will not allow federal immigration agents into schools without signed warrants, and it will host 100 forums across the city on immigrant rights, fraud prevention, and city services available to immigrant families. The department of education, which does not collect information on students' immigration status, also will not divulge student information to immigration agents unless required by law, the city said. 

The new guidance directs school officials to consult school district lawyers regarding any information they are provided by federal immigration enforcement agents. Immigration officials are to remain outside of schools, unless required by law, the city said.

Forty-percent of New York City's population is foreign-born.

New York City public schools, which enrolls more than 1 million students, is one of the latest school systems to announce steps it is taking to protect and reassure immigrant students and their families in the wake of President Trump's stepped-up enforcement to crack down on illegal immigration.

Districts such as Minneapolis, Denver, and Clark County in Las Vegas, Nev., have passed resolutions affirming that they are safe havens or safe zones for all students, including those who are undocumented. Others, such as Los Angeles, have laid out steps school officials should follow. Like New York City, the Los Angeles resolution, for example, also bars Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from campus.

Schools, churches, and hospitals are generally considered "sensitive" locations, and immigration enforcement actions are, with some exceptions, "generally to be avoided" in those areas, according to federal policy.

District Dossier's Corey Mitchell took a look last month at what districts are doing to allay immigrant families' fears and concerns amid the illegal immigration crackdown and what schools can and cannot do to protect students. 

"Being a city of immigrants is what makes us strong and resilient, and as New Yorkers, we take pride in living in a diverse, multicultural place—that same pride extends to our schools," New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement.  "All students, regardless of immigration status, deserve a great education in public schools and today we're providing additional guidance and resources to ensure students have a safe and inclusive learning environment in every building."

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