ICE panic hits schools

You may have heard stories today of a principal stopping U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at the gate of an East Oakland school, or about arrests at Berkeley High, or about King Middle School kids being loaded into a van.

ice.jpgThose rumors are false, according to school staff, district police and even ICE, themselves. But there is truth at the heart of the matter. As Mark Coplan, the Berkeley school district’s public information officer, put it: “This whole experience is so terrifying that it really brings out the greatest fear in everybody.”

When the final bell rang this afternoon at Korematsu and Esperanza academies in East Oakland, a number of aunts, uncles and other family members with legal immigration status came to pick up children from school.

Earlier in the day, word of immigration vehicles in the East Oakland neighborhood spread like a flash throughout the two elementary schools on the Stonehurst campus. Staff and parent volunteers called some families to warn them about the ICE presence in the neighborhood. (Here is a story our immigration reporter, Matt O’Brien, wrote about recent raids).

Community activists and school board members were on hand after school, and Ron Dellums even stopped by to talk to the TV cameras about Oakland being a “sanctuary city.”


(Note: As luck would have it, the scare happened during a week of high-stakes, standardized tests; the two elementary schools might have to reschedule tomorrow’s exams if too many kids are absent.)

In what ways do you think stepped-up immigration enforcement will affect education in Oakland, particularly in areas with large numbers of students from families of illegal immigrant status?

The top image is from Mn Immigrant Freedom’s site at flickr.com/creativecommons. The bottom photo was taken by staff photographer Mike Lucia.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Catherine

    We need these students educated. What ICE is doing will harm the families and our economy in the long run. If the families are here illegally and sent back home, my belief is that they will try to come back here. We are best off to leave the families intact and educate these children. Teach them to speak, read and write English, get them medical and dental care and help to make them productive citizens of the US.

    What ICE is doing is creating job security for themselves. These children are not criminals, they are children who love their families, teachers and classmates.

  • Nextset

    First of all, if the government actually does it’s job and enforces the immigration law, good for them. And it’s a crime to obstruct government officials in the performance of their duties. I personally don’t believe the schools have any business enrolling a student until their vaccinations are verified as well as legal status, but I don’t run the schools in Oakland. The school board does what they want. Good for them.

    But don’t cry about it when other people do their jobs the way they want either. Get a court injunction or get out of the way.

    As far as who started this false rumor in the middle of high stakes testing – that’s something I wish the school would dig into. Somebody making trouble like this, might try something worse next time. it would be nice to know who did it.

    As to Catherine’s post, I don’t see trying to use a public school system to create your own foreign policy and law of the country. If you are charged with running a school system you take an oath to uphold the law and the constitution not to run on your own private version of it. And Catherine, only Marxists, like the mayor, think they can use other people’s money to play lord and master over all they can see. A nation is for it’s people, not “the world” – and the only way your are going to “make” citizens, productive or otherwise, is by citizenship as set by law not by just telling strays to make themselves at home.

    Anyway most of the young school children are born here with papers. Until we throw off birthright citizenship for the children of invaders – which virtually no other country has – children born here can stay and enjoy citizenship status. If their parents get deported that is no concern of mine. I have known a lot of naturalized citizens. My family sponsored refugees from the Soviet Union/Hungary when I was in grade school. I haven’t seen anybody deported or even worried about it. I’ll believe there’s a crackdown when I see the roadblocks. More likely Congress under McCain will have Amnesty and mass naturalization. And Bye-Bye Black Congressional Caucus.

    Clearly the US Government has decided to flood the country with Mexican nationals, and by 2012 their children & naturalized adults will be the swing votes in national and state elections. I never did believe in accidents. There will only be token deportations until Congress has accomplished what they planned for.

  • Sue

    “…it’s a crime to obstruct government officials in the performance of their duties. I personally don’t believe the schools have any business enrolling a student until their vaccinations are verified as well as legal status…”

    School officials are government employees too. Their duties are to educate children and protect them while the children are in their custody. They are explicitly legally prohibited from inquirying about immigration status of students and families.

    Two sets of different governmental workers with conflicting legal requirements on the performance of their jobs – seems to me that the criticism should be of the legislature(s) that passed the laws in the first place, not the workers who are complying with the laws. And it’s up to the legislature to fix it.

    But my family did have to provide documentation of our children’s vacinations before we could enroll them. Our friends in Albany’s school district had to provide documentation of their religious/personal belief to get the exception for their children. I’m not sure why the vacination comment is even here – red herring?

  • cranky teacher

    invaders … flood … do you think you could use any more dehumanizing terms for people simply looking to provide for themselves and their families?

  • Nextset

    Sue: You don’t get my point. If anyone obstructs Federal or state employees in the carrying out of their duties they may be violently subdued and taken prisoner for arraignment before a federal or state judge. So don’t be surprised when it happens, I see many people who are shocked, shocked!! when it happens to them. So if ICE or any other agency (like the city police, County Coroner, Health Dept, whatever) comes around and you so much as tell someone else not to talk to them you may go in the bucket.

    The vaccination issue is to make the point that you don’t get to walk into a school and take a seat just because you like the furniture – there are actually requirements to enroll and they don’t have to justify them to you. It’s not Burger King.

    Cranky: You know exactly what I’m saying. I’m not here to sugar coat anything, frankly sugar coating news just wastes time. Looking to provide for themselves and their children… Get Real. I work with a lawyer who is permanently crippled and can no longer work in a courtroom because he and his wife and child were nearly killed by an Mexican illegal alien drunk driver. Our County Hospitals across CA are collapsing and facing closure due to illegal alien healthcare – most of our childbirths here are to illegals without any insurance. I can go on. Mexico has invaded California and is destroying the quality of life for our own people in a way that Mexico never tolerates in their own country. And the US Federal Government has invited the problem. And by the way, the black population of the US is getting the brunt of the damages in jobs, education and crime. Not that I’m partial (right).

    So as far as I’m concerned we need to have a round-up day in this country. But that’s just my opinion, don’t let it bother you one minute. Why would you care about other people’s opinions anyway? This is just a public blog. We are not of the same interests and experiences. But I think we should tend to agree on what the law is, and have a shared commitment to live within the law.

  • Catherine

    My father, American born, an alcoholic, ran off the road and nearly killed a Filipino family (mother and two children and yes, they were here legally) should we have deported my father? If so, maybe to Mexico?

    Seriously, the above story is true – the only difference is that my father was legal, had a job at GM and was able to get a new license the next week using my birth month and day and his year.

    Children born in the US are citizens. They should NOT be under the control of the government to fish out possible illegal immigrants.

    The illegals as you seem to call them contribute to our society by paying taxes and social security for which they will get no return. Their educated children, yes, using the tax dollars their immigrant families contributed, will be members of the labor force also paying taxes.

    Do you want your children to watch their classmates shipped off by some government people? Will you be there to explain to them that the children are not criminals, and that the families of the children may be here legally or illegally, but until they detain the child they won’t know?

    Is that really the kind of society you would prefer to live in?

  • Nextset

    Catherine: Illegal Alien Criminals pile up a lot of victims. I see some of the disasters. The first duty of our federal government is to maintain our territorial integrity. That means stopping foreign invasion. You and I don’t have to agree. Understand that US Nationals are very tired of the invasion we are undergoing, and we want it stopped.

    This nation has no responsibility whatsoever for foreign invaders on our land. And your story of your DUI father is illustrative and irrelevant. Those caught on our land in violation of our law are subject to penalty as are those assisting them to do so. Deal with it.

    And I’m not talking deportation, I’m talking internment. It’s the US Government that’s playing the deportation games. Recent news reports indicate some people (illegals) are being arrested and interned trying to leave this country.

    The CA Prison population includes I have heard as high as 25% foreign nationals.

    So I call for a national round up day and internment of those caught in our borders illegally until terms are arranged with their governments – if they even want them – for their recovery. As far as the children, those born here for the time being are treated as citizens. Those not, may want to consider joining up with the military and seeking citizenship that way. Mercy and accomodation has nothing to do with it. You either have a nation and protect it’s territorial integrity or not.

  • Catherine

    Do you have enough money to intern all of the illegal invaders? Because as a country, we don’t. We have a deficit that is getting bigger by Billons with our occupation of Iraq and our war in Afghanistan.

    By the way, we are unlawful invaders in Iraq and Afghanistan and our troops should also probably be interned under your theory.

    I must assume Nextset that you are 100% Native American and that your ancestors from the beginning of time were born on the soil of what is now known as America. I must also assume that you contribute daily to the good of all lawful Americans and that you give your time, effort and money into improving those areas of Oakland that are inhabited by non-invaders such as your Native American self. I also must assume that you are working to protect American jobs for lawful Americans and that you are willing to work in the fields picking, lettuce, strawberries and grapes for minimum wage so that I, as a lawful American, can eat them at the lowest price possible.

  • Jose

    As I was watching the news, it was truly funny to see all of these politicians running to the aid of illegals. Election year politics are entertaining!

    I think these ultra liberal marxist group such as BAMN are smarter than what I thought. It is a great tactic to call these threats in and then bring attention to your cause.

  • Robert

    Catherine, you’re a fun one.

    If the natives had been smart, as some of the more southerly ones were, they’d have slaughtered the colonists.

    We could do the resettlement camps. Wholesale storage until we could finish securing our borders. Unlike the internment of the Japanese, this would be reasonable in that they are NOT citizens, or resident aliens.

    If you think about it, the labor costs are already pushing additional development of mechanical harvesting technologies. Since you want to take this to absurdist levels, if we were to deport the 12 million illegals, it might even help our housing shortage :)

    We do need to address the counter productive legal framework for immigration. Perhaps in place of H1B, a contract to surrender citizenship in home country and a green card for people with technical skills, and a green card after a degree in science/technology.

  • Robert

    Who might overcome our “invaders” in Iraq and control them? 😛

  • Robert

    on 5/7 I received this email from Don Perata:

    I find yesterday’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement presence at our schools reprehensible. The Bush Administration espouses the virtues of No Child Left Behind and yet they provide no funding. If the President wants to help our nation’s children he should send funding – not federal agents to our schools.

    It is clear that ICE raids jeopardize the stability of our communities and families. There should be an immediate freeze on ICE raids directed at school children while legislation aiming to fix immigration is considered.


    As NextSet and Jose have implied, our elected officials are sure quick to jump to the cause of the criminals in our midst.

    I do not begrudge the illegals their desire to improve their lot. Until we find a way to do so under law, it cannot be tolerated. Our southern border is terribly leaky and effectively a revolving door. I find it curious that some try to say people have a RIGHT to cross it at will.

    An associated issue is the economic migrants who do not wish to become Americans, just to participate in the conomy and ignore the social conventions. I have greater distaste for such individuals than the illegals who work to participate here as community members.

  • Nextset

    Robert: You’re right, Catherine is a fun one. She thinks that she is safe, she believes the Emergency Room will be there for her, she hasn’t a clue about M-13. She doesn’t get it why black youth are unemployable now but had jobs in 1960.

    This nation will be under martial law in the forseeable future because of well meaning anarchists like her. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • Nancy

    I think the ICE raids in Oakland is a first step to immprove the quality of life for all in Oakland.

    First, I think it was during Jerry Brown’s leadership, that the statistics showed that high level, gang activity and automatics involve a large percentage of illegals from Mexico and Central America. Perhaps ICE is trying to tacitly work along with law enforcement to clean up our streets. It is safer to bring a criminal into custody who is walking his/her kid to school than at night during neighborhood gang banging and tagging of hard-working family’s garages. ICE is not out to arrest and deport those who are daily waiting for work in the Day Labor Zones on High Street and Foothill/Fruitvale that the Oakland City Council approved, otherwise those places would be empty. Last I knew, a union hall would dispatch work to day laborers where in Oakland would include hard-working Black men wishing to support their families.

    Second, credentialed school employees have taken an oath to uphold the laws of the State and the US as well as to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. However, their principals are ordering them to not cooperate if ICE comes and to not let them in the doors or gates. What happened to freedom of speech? And democratic principles?

    Third, many of these same illegals and others who have been here long enough to double dip the system, ship thousands of US dollars away from our local economies to their native lands where the money is worth =/-40 times. They are viewed as high status in those lands where they intend to go back when they have exhausted all they can get from America and exploited their good-faith supporters. They do not care about what the emergency rooms, schools, hospitals in general, or any other instutions that Americans will rely on as senior citizens 20 years from now. They have no investment in participation in building a better State or Nation. In fact, many go around waving the Mexican flag and jumping for joy for Cinco De Mayo, rather than learning the answers on the citizenship test to participate fully in America and its future.

    Why doesn’t the National School Lunch Program and other nationally funded programs demand I-9 verifications on families wishing to receive this aid. In fact, if you added up all the “free” aid including the Section 8 vouchers and free child care programs through our CDC’s and Adult Education classes, those families are living equal to most City, State, County, and School employee folk. If I told my principal these things you better believe I would be run out of the school or battered by fascist assault tactics for speaking my mind.

    Last, ICE raids will improve not only Education in Oakland by the quality of life for all who are stuggling working poor because of the implications of illegal immigration and the resulting austerity. No other nation in the world would tolerate illegals ripping off and double dipping the system as well as acting like criminals in the same community that tolerates their illegal status.