From Los Angeles to Miami to New York, dozens of school districts are vowing to shield students and their families from immigration authoritiesThis article the first of a three-part series was reported by The74Million.org, a nonpartisan education news nonprofit, in partnership with the Guardian
Its been an excruciating six months since 14-year-old Fatima Avelica watched, sobbing, as immigration agents picked up her father on their way to school.
Fatimas father, Rmulo Avelica-Gonzlez, who immigrated illegally from Mexico in the 1990s, had driven Fatima and her 12-year-old sister, Yuleni, to school in Los Angeles every morning for years, despite a deportation order hanging over his head. But a month after Donald Trump took office as president and called for ramped-up immigration arrests, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents pulled over the familys car.
The wrenching video of the arrest that Fatima took from the backseat went viral, capturing a moment that would come to symbolize the anguish of schoolchildren who have seen their families torn apart by aggressive immigration enforcement, as well as the anxiety of others who worry their families could be next.
For many of the estimated 1 million undocumented children in the US and the roughly 4.5 million young people, like Fatima and Yuleni, born here and with at least one undocumented parent (like Fatima and Yuleni) anxiety travels with them from home to school, creating a climate of fear in which learning is disrupted and classrooms are destabilized.