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Immigration Enforcement Targets Students en Route to CMS Bus Stop, Causing Widespread Fear

By Ana Suarez, Communication Coordinator
February 26, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT (English or Spanish):
José Hernández París, Executive Director, 980-417-4659 (cell), jhparis@latinamericancoalition.org
Ana Suarez, Communication Coordinator, 803-960-7852 (cell), asuarez@latinamericancoalition.org

CHARLOTTE, NC -- The Latin American Coalition (LAC) has received confirmation that at least one high school student was detained at or near his bus stop by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We have also confirmed that more have been detained across the state, and that at least 15-20 students from one high school alone are being targeted for deportation.

We believe that the student’s detention is a result of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recent large-scale effort to deport Central Americans who have recently come to the United States fleeing violence. (Click here to see the Latin American Coalition’s initial response to the immigration raids targeting Central American families.) According to immigrant advocates across the country, North Carolina is one of the few states in which ICE has detained students on their way to or coming home from school.

José Hernández-Paris, Executive Director of the Latin American Coalition, issued the following statement:

“While we have condemned these street arrests from the start, we are even more appalled that ICE would employ tactics that interfere with the functioning of our school district -- whose motto is ‘every child, every day, for a better tomorrow.’ Students’ detention and deportation does not just pose a threat to the education -- and life -- of the targeted student, but also spreads fear and insecurity to all students and their families, regardless of immigration status. The result is trauma and high rates of absenteeism across the district, as children and their parents fear their school is no longer a safe space.

“ICE agents also continue to target individuals on the streets of Charlotte. This city must not tolerate enforcement tactics that endanger children and isolate entire communities that have become integral to the fabric of this city.

“LAC has been in contact with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), as well as Superintendent Ann Clark and Mayor Jennifer Roberts concerning the arrests, who have both expressed their concern about recent ICE activity. We await news of the subsequent actions that CMS, local ICE officers and local government will take in order to ensure that students are allowed to access their education without fear of deportation.

"At the very least, we hope that local law enforcement, ICE and CMS will agree to create a safe passage that would allow students to travel to and from school without being detained by immigration enforcement. This would be a significant step in the right direction toward ultimately stopping the street arrests targeting Central Americans entirely,” stated Hernández-Paris.

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The Latin American Coalition is a community of Latin Americans, immigrants and allies that promotes full and equal participation of all people in the civic, economic and cultural life of North Carolina through education, celebration and advocacy. LatinAmericanCoalition.org


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