Immigration enforcement actions in California

March 6, 2018 ACSA Partner

ACSA is dedicated to providing administrators with expertise and content on the most relevant issues in the world of education administration. The following content has been provided by Lozano Smith, an ACSA partner. You can read the full version here. 

In recent weeks, media outlets have reported on immigration raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents that targeted various areas in California. These raids have focused on the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Sacramento areas. Other reports have confirmed ICE agents raiding dozens of 7-Eleven stores throughout the nation, and serving notices of inspection at 77 Northern California businesses within San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento.

As these enforcement actions continue, there are various policies and laws that school districts should keep in mind:

ICE's sensitive locations policy

School districts should note that ICE's Sensitive Locations Policy, which is designed to ensure that enforcement actions generally do not occur at sensitive locations such as schools, remains in effect.

Assembly Bill 699

This bill provides a number of new supports for immigrant families; requires the California Attorney General to create model policies that address ICE requests to access school sites and for information about students or their family members; and requires schools to provide "Know Your Rights" information to parents. (See 2017 Client News Brief No. 64.)

Senate Bill 54

SB 54 prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from assisting immigration enforcement in any way. (See 2017 Client News Brief No. 75.)

Senate Bill 257

New Education Code section 48204.4 permits students to meet district residency requirements for enrollment when: (1) the student's parent or guardian has departed California against his or her will, and the student can provide official documentation evidencing the departure; and (2) the student moved outside of California as a result of his or her parent leaving the state against his or her will, and the student lived in California immediately before moving outside the state. The student must provide evidence of enrollment at a public school in California immediately before moving outside of the state. (See 2017 Client News Brief No. 64.)

All of these new state statutes took effect January 1, 2018.


School districts should consider obtaining updates to student emergency contact information, and to prepare for possible situations where students are left stranded at school because a parent has been detained by ICE. Under AB 699, a school should not contact Child Protective Services (CPS) to assist students whose parents have been detained on immigration charges until it has exhausted all other avenues to ensure the care of the student. Schools may wish to assist families with planning ahead by holding a public event or sharing resources to educate families. Such an event or resources may include steps in developing an effective emergency plan and information pertaining to the creation of a caregiver's authorization affidavit, which would allow a caregiver to make certain school and medical decisions on behalf of a student whose parent or guardian has been detained or deported.

Lozano Smith can provide additional guidance on these and other immigration-related issues for our school and community college district clients. If you are interested in receiving additional guidance or have any questions regarding immigration enforcement on school campuses, please contact an attorney at one of their eight offices located statewide. 

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