Detroit public schools superintendent: ICE officials not allowed on school property

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti works to protect immigrant rights

DETROIT - The Detroit Public Schools Community District has rolled out a new policy banning immigration officials from school property without a search warrant.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti announced the plan to protect immigrant rights on school grounds.

"We are being clear that our students, regardless of our immigrant status, can come to our schools and focus on teaching and learning," Vitti said.

He said DPSCD is now a sanctuary district, meaning U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials aren't allowed to step foot on school property without a warrant and district officials won't ask students about their immigration status.

"We shouldn't be getting into that level of detail about our students' status anyway, as a school system," Vitti said.

The school board passed a formal policy last week. Vitti said it comes after school leaders noticed a difference in their students.

"This was a No. 1 issue that was coming up," Vitti said. "It wasn't, 'Am I going to college?' It's not, 'What was my test score?' It's, 'Is my family going to be in this country?'"

The new plan has received mixed amounts of applause and criticism, but Vitti said it isn't about politics, it's about the children.

"Regardless of what the pushback will be, regardless of what the noise would be, we want to limit the noise so students can focus on what they need to focus on," Vitti said.

Vitti and other school leaders said they are hoping to send a message to people in Detroit and surrounding communities.

Here is a statement from ICE:

"ICE has not undertaken any enforcement actions at Michigan schools and has no intentions of doing so. Current ICE policy directs agency personnel to avoid conducting enforcement activities at sensitive locations unless they have prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or in the event of exigent circumstances – see link. The locations specified in the guidance include schools, places of worship, and hospitals."

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