Monday, October 08, 2007
Fearing of deportation Immigrant parents pull out their kids from school.They get this notion that someone is going to actually come to school and snatch their children.
U.S. Citizens Children withdrawing from Irving schools.
IRVING — The superintendent of the Irving school district said some immigrant parents have pulled their children from school over fears that they or their families will be deported.
Jack Singley said about 90 children have withdrawn from 33,000-student public school district in the last week.
The Mexican Consulate has advised people to avoid driving through the Dallas suburb in response to the Irving Police Department's participation in a program with federal immigration authorities to identify illegal immigrants who have been arrested and deport them.
Singley said he hopes the parents will re-enroll their students somewhere else.
"My concern is that some of them won't put those children in school anywhere because they're on the run," he said Wednesday. "They get this notion that someone is going to actually come to school and snatch their children."
The district's guidance counselors planned to meet Friday to discuss whether they need a program to reassure students that they are safe at school regardless of their family's immigration status.
Illegal immigrant children can't be turned away from public schools, which typically don't ask the immigration status of their students, officials said.
"We've had kids nervous about their parents being deported," said Jose Villasenor, the district's director of responsive counseling. "The younger kids are nervous."
Irving police have turned over more than 1,600 people to immigration officials since the program began last year.
Latino advocates have accused police officers of racial profiling and overzealously arresting suspected illegal immigrants so they can be deported.
City officials counter that police are just providing information to immigration agents as part to streamline the deportation of illegal immigrants who have been incarcerated.
"If they're not being booked into our jail, there's nothing they should be worried about," Mayor Herbert Gears said. He said police or immigration officials wouldn't pick up children at school.
Singley said he doesn't know how many illegal immigrant children attend school in Irving.
Last year, About 66 percent of the district's students were Latino and 36 percent had limited English skills.