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Police in schools increase frequency of immigration detention

Because of the recent increase in crime and violence in the nation's schools, parents have embraced the idea of police officers, called school resources officers, lingering at the entrances and patrolling the halls of their children's schools. The presence of a police officer in the building may give many a feeling of security and relief. However, for those who fear immigration detention, either for themselves or for their parents, these SROs create an atmosphere of terror.

In New York and across the country, over 17,000 SROs are employed by school systems. Their responsibilities include giving lessons on safety, preventing crime on campus and responding to any emergencies that occur during the school day. While this may seem to many a positive presence, some are noticing the increase in criminal charges against minority students who commit minor infractions at school, such as using a cell phone during class.

For the over 700,000 students who have no immigration documents and the many more whose parents have illegal status, the risk is even higher because such infractions may lead to their deportation. In some states, students are rallying to remove the SROs from their schools to decrease the contact these young people have with law enforcement. Some SROs apparently use deportation as a threat to keep order and truancy as an excuse to visit the homes of those suspected of being in the country illegally.

New York students facing the threat of deportation may have a difficult time getting an education to become a contributing member of society. Anyone who ends up in immigration detention has a reason to be concerned about the future. However, those detainees have rights that must be protected. Seeking the guidance of an attorney who has experience defending detainees across the country may be in the best interests of a family in these dire circumstances.

Source: teenvogue.com, "Why Having Police in Schools May Be a Risk For Undocumented Students", Raquel Reichard, Oct. 24, 2017

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