On December 9, Children Over Politics founders, Yamlix Rustrian, and Belle Lopez, daughter of nursing home worker, and SEIU ULTCW Executive Board Member, Dina Lopez, went before the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.
As a result, the Board moved unianimously to help ensure that District schools are “safe havens” in support of President Obama‘s immigration action.
Administrative Relief, announced last month, potentially gives deportation relief 5 million undocumented adults and children.
A resolution jointly introduced by board members Steve Zimmer and Monica Garcia at the urging of SEIU Local 99, SEIU USWW, SEIU ULTCW, SEIU California State Council, and the California Table, pledges that the District will develop a plan to assist any students needing help with immigration records or applications.
LAUSD announced plans to send a letter home with students advising their their parents and guardians to be cautious of ‘so-called ‘notarios’ and dishonest lawyers who prey on the hopes of individuals and families seeking a better life.
The letter was signed by representatives of LAUSD, SEIU Local 99 and UTLA. Before the board meeting, Garcia and Zimmer held a press conference with leaders of the two unions.
Here is the full text of the resolution unanimously approved by LAUSD’s Board of Education on December 9, 2014:
Ms. García, Mr. Zimmer – Uniting Families and Strengthening America
Whereas, The Los Angeles Unified School District has the responsibility to protect the educational rights of all children and serve those who comply with laws that mandate compulsory education;
Whereas, Our success as a District depends on students that are ready to learn, families that encourage learning outside of the classroom, educators and support staff with high expectations of success, and a community that demands 100 percent graduation;
Whereas, The District embraces all students and families, regardless of citizenship, on their quest for the American dream;
Whereas, Like education, citizenship is an important symbol of full membership and participation in society that should be encouraged, not barred;
Whereas, When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was initiated, the District responded to the call with solutions to improve records systems, and support for current and former students to obtain their school transcripts;
Whereas, The District launched the Student Enrollment and Placement Assistance (SEPA) Center to facilitate enrollment and adaptation to newly arriving immigrant students to District schools;
Whereas, Partner organizations have held many DACA informational workshops across the District, educating hundreds of students and families that would qualify for the program; Bd. of Ed.
Whereas, Labor, community and faith based organizations continue to band together to stand as one to provide these children and their families dignity and justice;
Whereas, Our District family of students, parents, teachers, educators, and support staff continue to assist in the dissemination of information and resources for our impacted families and stand ready to assist with President Obama’s most recent action;
Whereas, Students should not be punished for their immigration status. Instead, they should be given recognition for their sacrifice, hard work, and determination;
Whereas, President Obama’s executive action to address this immigration crisis, including the expansion of DACA, the opportunity for work permits, and reducing the likelihood for family separations, will benefit many District families;
Whereas, This executive action is a victory for a broad coalition of immigrant rights, labor, and student activists, like our DREAMers, across the nation and here in Los Angeles – the epicenter of the immigrant rights movement;
Whereas, Our District will be ready once again to help eligible students and their families;
Whereas, Immigration is a federal responsibility and a comprehensive approach to solve our broken immigration system would strengthen our District and the economy of our country and allow aspiring citizens to make an even greater contribution to our communities;
Whereas, The executive action is a step in the right direction and we continue to require a permanent Comprehensive Immigration Reform solution from Congress;
Whereas, We hope to see the day when the children we welcome in the District will be equally embraced in our society and that the lessons we teach in our classrooms about equality, inclusion, and tolerance no longer contradict the laws that govern our country; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Governing Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District stands in solidarity with President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform and encourages subsequent measures that will involve even more families in relief from deportation;
Resolved further, That the Board exhorts Congress to pass a permanent solution to fix our broken immigration system;
Resolved further, That the Board embraces the opportunity to work with the federal government and partner organizations to coordinate and collaborate as it relates to this executive action;
Resolved further, That the Superintendent prepare all options to assist eligible students and their families for President Obama’s executive action on immigration when the application and guidelines are released by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services;
Resolved further, That the Board requests that the Superintendent work with the Office of Instruction and the Student Involvement Development and Empowerment Unit to develop a plan for engaging high school students to become a volunteer force to assist families and eligible applicants in the information and application process around the executive action; and, be it finally
Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be sent to each member of Congress.