President Donald Trump has been following up on his promise to be tough on immigration, and indeed has been harsher than many expected. Now, as raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continue, a proposal to mobilize troops to round up undocumented immigrants has been obtained by the Associated Press, leaving parents and children terrified that the raids might expand to schools. The memo, alleged to be a supplement to a Jan. 25 executive order, suggests the deployment of up to 100,000 National Guard troops to supplement ICE personnel in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the report is untrue. Another unnamed official has said that the memo was an early draft that was "never seriously considered."
Update: The Associated Press provided a scan of the memo it received at this link. The memo specifies the use of "State National Guard components" who are "employees of their state" and can thus be commanded by their governors to assist ICE officials in the enforcement of an immigration policy.
Some students around the country have reportedly been staying home from school for fear of being detained, and many prominent educators have called for schools to become sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants in response to the order. A letter from Las Cruces Public Schools circulated on social media sought to reassure students and parents by pointing out that the ICE policy on "sensitive locations" prohibits arrests, interviews, searches, and surveillance at schools and churches in the absence of exigent circumstances, despite anecdotal reports to the contrary. Thus far, there have been no confirmed raids at schools.
While children may stay safe at school, there's also concern that their parents might be detained, and Denver Public Schools has urged parents to update their children's emergency contact information in anticipation of parents being detained during school hours. DPS does not ask for students' immigration status, and vows not to share their status, should it come to light. The district's memo also references the current ICE policy for schools, but implies that it may not hold. A new executive order on immigration is expected next week, and whether it's constitutional or not, it could potentially be implemented, at least temporarily.
The new immigration order — which subjects any undocumented immigrant who has been charged with a crime or convicted to deportation, regardless of whether that crime was violent — has the tragic effect of tearing parents away from their American children by deporting mothers and fathers who were convicted of felonies for using fake Social Security numbers to work and provide for their families, according to CNN. One Colorado mother of four has taken refuge in a church basement in order to avoid deportation. When parents are deported, American children are left without family, economic stability, or emotional support. Besides the obvious damage this causes the children, it also creates an an additional burden on the already-struggling foster case system, a far greater cost to America than overlooking the immigration status of innocent families or creating a more accessible path to citizenship.