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Resolution No. 15: Resolution Against Deportation

Submitted by: Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

WHEREAS, members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) are proud to serve some of the most ethnically diverse bodies of students in the world, many in cities where one-out-of-five of its residents were born outside of the United States, with residents from more than 140 countries and more than 100 languages spoken; and

WHEREAS, the IFT is dedicated to the welfare and bright future of all students and members of our communities; and

WHEREAS, deadly, unchecked violence and economic distress in Central America and Mexico has resulted in the world’s highest murder rates in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras, causing a refugee crisis with hundreds of thousands of people displaced, the majority of whom are women and children; and

WHEREAS, many families and children do not have access to legal counsel, forcing them to navigate the complex immigration system alone; and

WHEREAS, there have been 83 documented murders of individuals who were deported back to Central American countries from the United States since January 2014; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been conducting immigration enforcement “field operations,” commonly known as “raids,” taking into immigration custody, families, adults, and children seeking to build their lives in the United States; and

WHEREAS, DHS announced that it would be targeting Central American families and children through “Operation Border Guardian,” which so far has taken 336 people from their homes nationwide, including children; and

WHEREAS, in states, like Georgia and North Carolina, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is targeting undocumented high school students for detention and deportation as part of Operation Border Guardian, including eight students who are still in immigration detention; and

WHEREAS, in North Carolina teachers have reported that there have been drastic decreases in attendance – up to 20 percent in some cases – due to Latino and immigrant children staying home in fear of being apprehended by ICE; and

WHEREAS, DHS and ICE raids perpetuate pervasive fear within neighborhoods and schools, sow distrust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, and invite human and civil rights violations; and

WHEREAS, there are parents and students living and suffering the consequences of harsh immigration enforcement tactics, including Mr. Jose Juan Federico Moreno, a father of five children who has had to take sanctuary in a Chicago church to avoid deportation; and

WHEREAS, teachers cannot achieve their mission of educating their students when there is widespread fear and anxiety in the community; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) hereby condemns the use of immigration raids or “field operations,” and urges the Department of Homeland Security to end “Operation Border Guardian” and any other field operations targeting students and their families; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT will assist members to create a classroom environment and curriculum that is welcoming to all students, including undocumented youth, and provide informational trainings on understanding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, and training on college counseling for undocumented students; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT supports the fight of Jose Juan Federico Moreno and his children, and urges the Chicago Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office to consider the suffering of his family and stop his deportation; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT will work with community organizations that are counseling undocumented youth, provide information about people’s rights during immigration enforcement raids, and make this information available to teachers and students; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT encourages each local to lobby the governing body of each city to reaffirm its status as a welcoming city and its commitment to become or remain a place of safety and refuge for refugees from around the world, insisting that law enforcement and city officials shall not participate, cooperate, or facilitate planned raids to apprehend families fleeing violence; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the IFT requests its membership to assist the public, in whatever legal means available, in its fight to prevent raids and deportations of refugee seekers.

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