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Lily Eskelsen García: Children are fearful to go to school as a result of immigration raids

NEA President: immigration raids send shock waves among students and families

WASHINGTON - February 10, 2017 -

Reports from news media and immigrant rights advocates indicate new Trump administration immigration enforcement raids are underway in several states, including Arizona, California, Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia. Advocates and media outlets are reporting chaos in schools and communities affected by the raids. In a North Carolina community, students witnessed arrests. Other communities are reporting that immigration agents are following schools buses.

The following joint statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García and Texas State Teachers Association President Noel Candelaría:

"Children are fearful to go to school. Parents are desperately trying to find guardians for their children in the event they are detained or deported. We've seen this before. And it's happening again. This time, it is happening in the middle of the night or as students load up buses and head to school. This time it is happening without any oversight, review, or due process.

"The current raids are beyond reprehensible, they are inhumane, and they are a deliberate and coordinated attack on those who come to America seeking safety, freedom, and opportunity, and, in the process, make America a better country.

"These shocked and frightened families are our friends and our neighbors. Our students are collateral damage as a result of these raids. The heightened environment of intimidation and fear in immigrant neighborhoods is carried into classrooms by traumatized students.

"As the Trump administration threatens our students, their families, and our way of life, we will not stay silent. As families turn to their childrens educators for solace and advice, we are going accelerate ongoing efforts to create and implement commonsense policies like our public school safe zones where all students are welcome. Public school safe zones allow school boards to go on the record to that they won't allow immigration enforcement agents into their schools without a proper review process and that they are committed to the protection of student privacy via practices ensuring that no data is being collected with respect to students immigration status or place of birth.

"We call on the Trump administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to put an immediate stop to these abhorrent immigration raids in our communities."

For more information about NEA's Public School Safe Zones, please click here.
To learn more about our partners Know Your Rights campaign, please click here.

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Keep up with the conversation at #EducationNotDeportation #StopTheRaids

The National Education Association is the nations largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez