The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

CPS To Principals: Don't Let Immigration Agents In Schools Without Warrant

By Stephen Gossett in News on Feb 22, 2017 4:15PM

Getty Images / Photo: John Moore

Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday instructed principals in the district to not allow officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement into schools unless they have a criminal warrant.

"To be very clear, CPS does not provide assistance to U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) in the enforcement of federal civil immigration law," wrote Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson in a letter to principals. "Therefore, ICE should not be permitted access to CPS facilities or personnel except in the rare instance in which we are provided with a criminal warrant."

In the event that an ICE agent presents paperwork, principals were instructed to call the Law Department and ask the agents to wait outside while the school and Law Department review.

The district also encouraged principals to ask parents to make sure emergency contact information is up to date and provide backup contact information if the primary caregiver is detained. "If a child is left stranded at your school and you suspect it is because his or her parent is detained, please exhaust the child's emergency contact list," CPS wrote.

A CPS spokesperson said that the district was not aware of any recent attempts by immigration agents to enter public schools.

A spokesperson for ICE did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday morning.

More than 50,000 CPS students were not in attendance on Thursday, during the nationwide "A Day Without Immigrants" action, according to the Sun-Times. CPS said that only three-quarters of Hispanic students attended classes that day.

The letter was sent the same day that the Department of Homeland Security made public its vast expansion of deportation priorities. The guidelines broaden the definition of criminal targets to essentially include anyone without citizenship or a visa.

"All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to enforcement proceedings, up to and including removal from the United States," a DHS fact sheet states. The guidelines also call for the construction of more detention centers and strip privacy protections for undocumented immigrants.