monday, 5 june of 2017

California lawmakers pass sanctuary bills protecting undocumented immigrant students

The California State Assembly passed two bills on Thursday which, if passed by the senate, will strengthen protections for undocumented immigrant students in public schools from kindergarten through college.

Assembly Bill 699 passed by a 60-13 vote, with seven members not voting, and will provide numerous protections for students attending K-12 public schools in the state.

Assembly Bill 21, passed by a narrower 55-23 vote with two members abstaining, will provide similar protections to students in higher education.

Among the protections provided in the bills are provisions preventing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from "entering a schoolsite without ... a valid judicial warrant ... and approval from the superintendent."

The laws would also prevent school staff from collecting information regarding the immigration status of students or cooperating with federal law enforcement agencies that seek to deport students based on their immigration status.

Additionally, AB-21 would prevent students enrolled in the California State University, University of California or California Community Colleges systems from losing financial aid, housing stipends, or other benefits granted to state residents in the event the student is deported.

The bills are seen as a response to the Trump administration's controversial policies towards undocumented immigrants, as well as the President's proposed budget cuts to education.

In March, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye issued an open letter asking ICE agents to stop following undocumented immigrants to courthouses in order to make arrests.

This letter was issued following an incident the previous month in a California courthouse when ICE agents surrounded a man to arrest him as he was walking in the hallway of the courthouse with his attorney.

Attorneys in Arizona, Texas, and Colorado have also reported instances of having their clients arrested in courthouse hallways and in courtrooms. Numerous attorneys and judges are criticizing such tactics.

In February Secretary John Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security issued two memoranda to direct the department to begin implementing executive orders concerning immigration laws.

Also in February Chief Magistrate Judge James Donohue of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that a Mexican immigrant-detainee must be granted a bail hearing.
In January the US House of Representatives passed a funding bill that included amendments designed to repeal key elements of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

(Published by Jurist - June 3, 2017)

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