LACCD is protecting the 11,000 undocumented students in the school district by creating a task force that unites all nine campuses in support of DACA.
The chancellor and board members of LACCD decided last year that they wanted to have a task force that would answer the question: what are we doing to support our undocumented students?
This coalition created the Know Your Rights campaigns, for which the LACCD created Rights Cards. These cards help undocumented students if they are encountered by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer.
“The purpose of the cards is for students to be aware of their rights when confronted by ICE so they do not run away and are not scared,” said Jeannette M, a counselor at Pierce. “A lot of people get scared and just start talking and self-incriminate themselves. This makes it easy to tell them what you need without saying anything at all.”
The cards have two detachable parts in English and in Spanish, which can be torn off and handed to an ICE officer, and it will explain that you do not wish to speak to the officer, answer questions, or sign/accept documents based on Fifth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.
“We are slowly creating opportunities for individuals who are possibly undocumented to know that they matter, and their academic success if important to all of us” said Juan Carlos Astorga, the Dean of Student Engagement. “We have amazing resources that these students can use to ensure their safety.”
The card also addresses incidents that may occur at students’ home, explaining that ICE officers should not be given permission to enter the house based on Fourth Amendment rights, unless they have a warrant. It also had step-by-step directions that explain how to successfully handle an encounter with an ICE officer.
“The cards are helpful because sometimes, you just need that quick information that you probably don’t have memorized, specifically in these types of events,” said Efren Lopez, the president of ASO. “It gives you that power and that confidence to not back down in these types of confrontation.”
The card also provides a list of resources, such as the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, the Los Angeles Community College District immigration website, and the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
Rights Cards can be obtained from counselors as well as any of the DACA ally faculty members, all of which are listed on the undocumented students section of the Pierce College website.