State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson confronted federal authorities about the federal policy which has up until now kept authorities from apprehending undocumented parents near schools.
“I have consistently told students and their families that they must feel safe and protected at our schools, especially families who are refugees, Muslims, or undocumented immigrants,” state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. “Recent actions by federal law enforcement agents around schools have raised serious concerns.”
Torlakson and the California Department of Education raised these concerns after an incident in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles where a 48 year old father of four, Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, was taken into custody in front of his sobbing children after dropping his daughter off at Academia Avance, a local charter school.
Despite the Superintendent declaring state schools “Safe Havens,” ICE apprehended Avelica-Gonzalez near his daughter’s school, and parents now fear that the same could happen to them.
In the aftermath of that incident and other reports around the United States about escalated ICE actions, parents have been inquiring and making arrangements in the event that they are deported. Undocumented parents who fear they could be deported have been making very difficult decisions about what will happen their children, who are citizens in the United States in case they get picked up. Many have taken legal steps to have guardianship of their children ready in case the worst comes to fruition.
As a matter of fact, since the rise of deportations and uncertainty has grown, so has the instances of parents signing Power of Attorney legal papers in the event they are deported. Making sure that their children remain here in the US and are cared for has become a priority for many parents. Workshops hosted by civil rights and immigration groups have included information on Power of Attorney paperwork.
These are troubling times for parents who are uncertain about the future for themselves and their children. If you are able, please consider reaching out a comadre in need and offer support in whatever way that you can. I am certain that we will continue to hear about these very sad stories. We will try to keep our communities informed as these things occur.
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