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Sac City Unified Launches Program To Protect Undocumented Students

  

The Sacramento City Unified School District is launching a new campaign to prevent deportations of undocumented students or family members.

The district plans to distribute 50,000 information cards entitled, "WHAT TO DO IF ICE COMES TO YOUR DOOR."

Elizabeth Villanueva is a teacher at Luther Burbank High School. She says she and a group from Sacramento City College have already been counseling students.

"We've been providing services to our undocumented students: the "know your rights" cards-- the red cards-- bringing lawyers, bringing community members to talk to them," says Villanueva.

While there was unity at a news conference at Luther Burbank Tuesday, there is some opposition in the community.

Jane Shane lives in Sacramento and calls the district's actions "deplorable."

"I know they're not within their rights to do that and I think it sets a terrible precedent for young people, 'We can break the law because we're united?' No. Not so."

Felix Lopez is a 15-year-old ninth grader at Luther Burbank High School. He says the cards bring him some peace of mind. He was born in the U.S., but his family is not here legally. He hopes President Trump will open the border.

"I feel that if the president wants, he could do the right thing," says Lopez. "He could check their background, and if it's clean, then I think they have the right to come here because it's a free country and sometimes people don't just come here for work, they come here because they're running away from something that they had to live with."

Teachers at Luther Burbank have already been working with Sacramento City College to provide legal counseling to undocumented students and family members.

But, the district's actions have drawn criticism.

Shane says she would like to see a revival of the Bracero guest worker program from the 1940's-60's.

"Why don't we go back to what worked and forget all this brouhaha? They want to work. They come in. They go home. We don't have to adopt them," she says.

And if they want to stay?

"Then they have to go through the hoops like everyone else. There are laws in place. Does no one care about the law anymore?"

The district also plans to hang "Safe Haven" banners at every school.

ICE would not comment on the district's actions, but a statement from the agency says enforcement efforts are driven by leads and target "individuals who pose a threat to our communities."

 

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