She says ‘individual schools’ should decide whether to report undocumented students to ICE
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is under fire once again, this time for remarks she made this week in front of Congress stating it’s up to individual schools to decide whether to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they believe a student may be undocumented.
During an educational panel earlier this week, Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) asked DeVos whether school principals and teachers had a responsibility to report undocumented students or their families to immigration authorities.
“I think that is — that is a school decision,” DeVos said during her testimony before the House Education and Workforce Committee. “It’s a local community decision and again I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate and I urge this body to do its job and address and clarify where there is confusion around this. These issues are state and local issues to be addressed and dealt with.”
Espaillat immediately jumped on the secretary’s remarks, reminding her that immigration policies are not defined by individual states or communities but rather by the federal government. “Let me just remind Madam Chair that immigration law is federal law,” he said. “It’s not a local law. It’s not governed by a municipality.”
As you can imagine, civil rights groups were quick to educate DeVos as well, citing a 1982 Supreme Court ruling in Plyler v. Doe that guarantees the rights of students to receive a public education regardless of their immigration status. Reporting them to ICE, among other things, would directly contradict this ruling.
Any school that reports a child to @ICEgov would violate the Constitution. SCOTUS has made clear that every child in America has a right to a basic education, regardless of immigration status. As usual, DeVos has no idea what she’s talking about. https://t.co/KvDRI6QPr2
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 22, 2018
“Any public school or school district that denies an education to any undocumented child – whether by refusing to enroll, by limiting access to the programs and benefits provided to other students, or by reporting a child to ICE – has violated the United States Constitution,” President and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund Thomas A. Saenz added.
The latest DeVos “idea” reeks of racial profiling. Needless to say, many people have opinions about this.
The only thing
that should be fired
inside of a school
is Betsy DeVos.
— Millie (@TheMilliennial) May 27, 2018
When Betsy DeVos says that schools should snitch to ICE, she’s asking that teachers and administrators doom their kids to abuse, humiliation, and the potential to be “lost” to modern-day slavers. These children deserve justice.
— brutalism apologist (@brutapologist) May 25, 2018
– ICE admitted to losing over 1,000 children
– CBP shot and killed, Claudia Gonzalez, an unarmed migrant woman
– Betsy DeVos said schools could report undocumented children at school
– There still isn't a solution for Dreamers.
I am so tired.
— Ciriac Isbeth (@ciriacisbeth) May 27, 2018
I condemn Betsy Devos’ remarks. Never will I Report a student to ICE. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER. @rweingarten @DianeRavitch @DDavilaHisd @ccnlikes @SenatorSylvia @RepAlvarado145 @pastors4txkids @TexasAFT @UNITEDWEDREAM @votolatino @MontseTXAFLCIO #SchoolDeVos #HereToStay pic.twitter.com/2ayxycCBlw
— Daniel Santos (@mr_dsantos) May 25, 2018
Really? What do you suggest? That all children who look "foreign" be challenged to present papers to an ice official after school every day? Maybe during recess? They're kids. Let them learn. Try to be human for just a moment.— Jon Lacey (@callinon) May 23, 2018
Shockingly, this isn’t the first time DeVos’ comments have made headlines. There was her disastrous 60 Minutes interview where she proved just how little she actually knows about the school system, her belief college rapists should have more rights, and of course who can forget her thoughts on arming teachers because, grizzly bears.
Her most recent comments “could very well have a chilling effect on families seeking to attend and enroll in our public schools, and invite mischief from schools across the country,” says Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“The suggestion that individual schools should have the discretion to determine if and when to report undocumented students flies in the face of well-settled and long-standing Supreme Court precedent which makes clear that no student should be denied the right to a public education based on their immigration status.”