We declare Georgia colleges and universities to be safe zones for all student populations.
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The recent Pew Research Center reports that Georgia is seventh in the nation among undocumented illegal immigrants. 37,000 undocumented children are enrolled in Georgia schools according to the Migration Policy Institute. Despite Trump's rhetoric between 2004 and 2009 illegal immigration is on the decline.
Students and faculty across the nation have sought to protect this vulnerable population claiming themselves as "sanctuary" schools. ICE hasn’t spoken about the legality of sanctuary campuses, but in a 2011 memo from the department states that enforcement actions – arrests, interviews, searches, and surveillance – should not occur at sensitive locations including hospitals, churches, and schools. Thus, ICE is stated in 2011 schools should be safe zones and support is sustained for sanctuary to continue at schools. Legal advisement within some sanctuary schools are explaining the risk of Fourth Amendment rights, protection of student's and staff's personal records.
In Georgia government officials chose to deny these rights. They instead voted to pass the bill which threatens undocumented students and the schools seeking to protect them. House Bill 37 (HB) threatens to cut off public funding to schools which violate federal immigration laws by providing sanctuary to illegal immigrant students. Such a decision could cost private schools tens of millions of dollars in grants, tuition assistance programs and other funding.
This is personal to me because my grandmother left an abusive husband in Mexico, she worked "the fields" to provide for her five children as a single mother in Indio California. She eventually earned herself a retirement for her years of service in the kitchen at Norton College. My grandmother struggled and through her struggle I was born in a different country than my mother. That fact has afforded me a life of opportunity and one of the most powerful influences in my life being a private safe school environment which included educators who encouraged me and led me to pursue secondary education. I am a high school teacher because of her sacrifices and because my school was my sanctuary, it was my safe place from the world and its chaos. Schools have that responsibility to their students, help me remind politicians of this simplistic truth for all populations; especially this vulnerable population.
If the Governor vetoes the bill all student populations in Georgia will have an opportunity to continue their education, in a safe place. Schools have always been a safe place and should remain so regardless of who is in office. Please help us remind our politicians schools are our sanctuaries.
We were born to dream and through our dreams our generations dream.
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