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Tue Aug 22, 2017, 10:13 AM

Trump order could give immigration agents a foothold in US schools

Source: The Guardian

Trump order could give immigration agents a foothold in US schools

Activists fear the plan puts students and families at risk by increasing collaboration between federal agents and police officers in American schools

Mark Keierleber
Tuesday 22 August 2017 11.00 BST

One student exchanged hand gestures with a classmate in the school hallway. Another drew graffiti in his notebook. A third wore a Chicago Bulls T-shirt.

School authorities on Long Island, New York, accused the teenagers of displaying signs or symbols associated with a notorious street gang with close ties to Central America. They were suspended, and several of the students were arrested. But before the charges were substantiated – even before appeals of their suspensions were complete – the students were shipped off to detention facilities thousands of miles from home, without their parents’ knowledge.

Not because of gang activity – which has yet to be proven in court – but because of immigration status.

How teenagers with no criminal convictions ended up in the hands of federal authorities is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It’s also a troubling example of how Donald Trump’s wide ranging executive order to ramp up immigration enforcement may be giving federal immigration authorities a stronger foothold in America’s schools.

As many as 20,000 police officers are stationed inside American schools to help maintain safety. Called school resource officers, they are employed by local police or sheriff’s agencies and historically have few ties to immigration authorities. But Trump’s immigration order, signed in January, revived a decades-old program which trains local law enforcement officials in immigration enforcement and deputizes them with federal authority. Since some of these newly empowered police departments also deploy officers to schools, attorneys and civil rights activists say school resource officers can easily become a conduit for personal information about students and their families, such as undocumented status, that is supposed to be protected under federal student privacy laws.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/22/trump-immigration-us-schools-education-undocumented-migrants

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