The Philadelphia school board unanimously voted Thursday to adopt a “welcoming sanctuary schools” policy and will train employees on how to “respond” to immigration enforcement agents.
After months of meetings with Juntos, a pro-illegal immigration group, the board is “assuring immigrant students and families they will be safe from immigration authorities while at school or school activities, and promising more training for staff on how to respond to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials,” ABC 6 reported.
“By assuring immigrant students and their families feel unconditionally safe in our schools, we are ensuring that they are given the opportunity to thrive and reach their greatest potential,” school board member Mallory Fix Lopez said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
School Board Vice President Leticia Egea-Hinton said the policy is “making sure that all Philadelphia public schools are havens for immigrant students and their families,” NBC 10 reported.
Erika Guadalupe Núñez, executive director of Juntos, called the resolution a “first step,” but also wants to see “language equity, improved cultural instruction, and other educational justice reforms.”
The “welcoming sanctuary schools” policy requires the district to come up with an “emergency response plan” which could include “providing counseling and emotional support for immigrant students who are affected by an immigration enforcement action in the community.”
Philadelphia schools already provide an “immigration toolkit” to staff but now will develop a training on how to handle ICE agents.
The pro-illegal immigration posture comes as migrant children received in-person schooling before American children did in San Diego.
In March, the San Diego County Office of Education said it was providing educational instruction for children housed at the San Diego Convention Center while other kids enrolled in the district were still learning remotely, according to the New York Post.
“We have 130,000 kids who haven’t been allowed in a classroom for over a year,” San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond told Fox News.
“It’s great that there’s in-person learning for those unaccompanied minors from Central America, but I wish every child in San Diego County was allowed the same opportunity for in-person teaching,” he said.
San Diego reopened classrooms on April 12, just weeks before the summer break.
A 2016 study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) concluded government schools spend $59.8 billion to serve illegal immigrant populations.
The report said “sanctuary” policies contribute to the strain on public school resources. It found in that year, Pennsylvania spent $16,669 per unaccompanied minor student.