By: Kyle Palmer and Matt Hodapp
Recently, the Kansas City, Missouri Public School District essentially declared itself a “sanctuary” district when the school board unanimously passed what it called a “safe and welcoming schools” resolution.
This resolution prohibits federal immigration agents from entering Kansas City schools without a warrant and also says any request from immigration authorities for information about students will not be provided without a warrant. The district says it will continue to not collect data about the immigration status of students and their families.
This move came just weeks after rumors that potential raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, would be conducted outside Kansas City area churches. Those rumors turned out to be unfounded. And local ICE officials have responded to the Kansas City school district’s resolution, saying they already avoid doing investigations in “sensitive” places like schools and churches.
But Kansas City schools say they want to make sure their schools are “not disrupted by immigration investigation” which can “significantly disrupt the school environment” and “interrupt learning.”
To learn more about why the district decided to take this step, No Wrong Answers talked with Dr. Luis Cordoba, the head of the office of student interventions in the Kansas City Public School District. His office is the one in charge of supporting the district’s sizable population of immigrant and non-English speaking students and their families.
Dr. Cordoba is an immigrant from Mexico himself, who was brought to the United States by his parents when he was one. He grew up in East Los Angeles and became a naturalized citizen while working as a California Highway Patrolmen. He’s also a licensed drug and substance abuse counselor and has led trainings for Kansas City Police cadets on race relations.