O’Donnell-Chiu bill moves to protect students from overzealous immigration raids

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David Chiu

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This week, 70th District Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) introduced AB 699 to safeguard students from fear and intimidation while attending schools in California. The bill prohibits Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers from entering public schools without prior approval from a principal or district superintendent, and it prevents school officials from collecting information regarding the immigration status of a student or his or her family members.

“No student should ever fear coming to school,” said O’Donnell, a teacher and chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “Regardless of your stance on immigration, we can all agree school campuses are no place to conduct raids or investigate kids who want nothing more than to learn in a safe environment.”

The bill’s introduction comes in the wake of President Trump’s executive order targeting undocumented immigrants and new reports of students being bullied based on their immigration status or religious customs.

In order to address this trend, the legislation also requires school districts to provide relevant counseling, inform parents about their child’s right to a free public education and teach students about the negative impacts of bullying based on immigration status, religious beliefs or ethnic background.

AB 699 is being jointly authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), a former criminal prosecutor and civil-rights attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

“Parents should be able to send their kids to school with the confidence that they are in a safe educational environment and can thrive regardless of their immigration status,” Chiu said. “We need to update existing law to defend our young people against the attacks of the Trump administration.”

The bill now awaits referral to its first policy committee.

Source: O’Donnell’s office

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