Friday, March 24, 2017

After an Immigration Raid, a City’s Students Vanish


The climate of fear created by President Trump's immigration enforcement drumbeat has had deep impacts on immigrant communities across the United States.  Immigrant parents worry what might happen to their children if they are deported.

Jonathan Blitzer in the New Yorker writes about how students disappeared from the Las Cruces, New Mexico schools after an immigration raid.  On February 15th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers conducted a raid in Las Cruces, arresting people at a trailer park on the outskirts of town. The raid came a few weeks after President Trump signed two executive orders, signalling his plans to crack down on undocumented immigrants. Rumors spread that there were further raids planned, though none took place. On February 16th, a Thursday, Las Cruces’s public schools saw a sixty-per-cent spike in absences compared to the previous week—twenty-one hundred of the district’s twenty-five thousand students missed school. Two thousand students stayed away again the next day. Attendance returned to normal the following week, which made the two-day rash of absences all the more pronounced. “It was alarming,” Greg Ewing, the district’s superintendent, told me. News of the raid caused such fear in the community that Ewing wrote a letter to parents on the 16th, in English and Spanish, reassuring them that “we do not anticipate any ICE activity occurring on school campuses.” 

Parents fear dropping their children off at the Las Cruces schools and elementary school absences have spiked.


Walter White, New Mexico high school chemistry teacher in the television show Breaking Bad


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