Education

One L.A. Teacher Says He’ll ‘Go To Jail’ Before Giving Student Information To Federal Agents

by Tasbeeh Herwees

September 6, 2017

In Los Angeles, at least, there are pockets of safety for undocumented folks who seek sanctuary. Shortly after the presidential inauguration that put Donald Trump in office — raising fears of an immigration crackdown — the Los Angeles Unified School District board voted to implement a series of policies that would make it more difficult for federal groups, like U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, from conducting raids on school campuses.

Now, following the presidential administration’s announcement that it plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — an Obama-era policy that loosened immigration restrictions for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. under a certain age — at least one Los Angeles Unified School District teacher is making sure his students know they are safe in his classroom.

Social studies teacher David Wiltz facilitated a conversation in his class at Thomas Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles where he promised his students he would not give out their information to ICE or other federal immigration officials.

“No one is ever going to give up your personal information. No one will ever say whether you’re undocumented,” he told his classroom of juniors. “I will go to jail before I give up your guys’ information.”

Students in his class expressed concerns that their family members or friends would be deported under the new revised law.

In other L.A. schools, students arrived to class to find signs that read “Immigrants Are Welcome Here” and “Immigrants Have the Right to Stay.”

Los Angeles County and Orange County are home to more than an estimated 1 million undocumented immigrants — only second to New York, which is home to 1.2 million. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra — among others in the country — announced that he was prepared to sue the administration over its DACA phaseout.

Share image by Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons

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