Bowing to pressure from parents, San Jose Unified School District agreed to a resolution Thursday that ensures anonymity for undocumented students and their families.
Under the newly titled “Resolution Supporting Immigrant Students and Families,” the district will not collect information regarding students and their families’ immigration status. The resolution also states that San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD), the largest in the city with roughly 30,900 enrolled students, will also take legal action if it receives requests for information that would threaten an individual’s privacy rights.
“It prevents us from having to share information,” SJUSD spokesman Peter Allen said. “We protect the information by just not asking for it.”
At a Jan. 26 board meeting, SJUSD’s board heard from nearly two-dozen parents who were concerned that President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders could result in undocumented parents and children being targeted on school grounds.
In addition to Thursday’s resolution, the district’s superintendent, Nancy Albarrán, will review any requests for access to a school site from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before any actions take place. SJUSD has previously said it will not comply with anything less than a warrant.
The district on Thursday also vowed to keep up to date with every student’s emergency contact information and provide support through local government agencies and community groups.
The initial resolution from January, titled “Inclusive Learning Environments,” ensured the safety of all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and socioeconomic status. Immigration status was also included in that list, but the document did not state specific actions regarding undocumented students and the current community concerns.
“At the time, it was a little more of a general support of student safety and well-being of the district as a whole, but, given the uncertain times with the immigration policy, the community wanted to see something more focused on the immigration policy,” Allen said. “We heard loud and clear from the community that it required specific language.”
Allen noted that the district board used broader language in the first resolution because of uncertainty on what’s to come. “We don’t want to commit to something so specific when we still don’t know what policies are going to be coming out from Washington,” he said.
San Jose Unified plans to construct an additional resolution for the safety and equity of all students. This will give the community another chance to be involved in the decision-making within the next few months.
On Friday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also sought to reassure residents that the city’s police department will not assist any immigration enforcement efforts. Media reports have noted that ICE has been conducting immigration raids across the country, including Southern California cities such as Los Angeles and Pomona.
“All members of our San Jose community—whether they have legal status or not—must know that our San Jose Police Department will not participate in any way in any ICE investigation or enforcement,” Liccardo said. “All residents—regardless of legal status—should feel comfortable calling 911 or the San Jose Police Department without any fear of arrest or deportation, and should not be inhibited in any way from doing so if there is an emergency or a crime.”
The mayor added, “The Administration should focus federal resources on arresting and deporting violent and predatory felons, not tearing families apart over minor infractions. A blunderbuss approach to immigration enforcement merely drives fear through communities, and makes all of us less safe.”
Police spokesman Officer Albert Morales told San Jose Inside on Friday that the department is “not aware” of any planned immigration raids in San Jose.