TUSD, Sunnyside won't ask about immigration status

2010-04-29T00:00:00Z TUSD, Sunnyside won't ask about immigration statusAlexis Huicochea and Carmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Just days after the state's immigration bill was signed into law, TUSD administrators and their Governing Board have already fielded questions from staff workers about whether they need to inquire about the immigration status of students. The answer to that is no, said Rob Ross, TUSD legal counsel.

Still, the district is planning to hold a meeting with principals to convey that message and send a notice to its staff.

"I have serious concerns and I would like to be able to assure families who come to TUSD that their child is going to get an education regardless of their status and that we're not going to be doing immigration enforcement on our campuses," said board member Adelita Grijalva.

"While the legislation has no direct effect on our school community, it could have an effect because police departments sometime have legitimate reasons to be on school property," said acting Superintendent Maggie Shafer.

TUSD was the target of several protests in 2007 after the deportation of a Catalina Magnet High School student and his family. That incident began when school officials found that the student possessed illegal drugs and called Tucson police.

When officers learned the boy and his family were in the United States illegally, they called Border Patrol agents to the school to take the boy and his family into custody.

Police leaders said at the time that officers would not summon immigration authorities on campus but instead would follow up elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the Sunnyside Unified School District "will not and cannot enforce immigration laws, and schools cannot ask or require proof of citizenship from our students or parents," stated Superintendent Manuel L. Isquierdo in a letter that will be sent to families.

Sunnyside "will continue to honor the U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Plyler vs. Doe) that ensures that all students must be educated, regardless of race, religion or national origin," the letter said.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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