Alum Rock school board dedicates $250,000 for ICE defense

SAN JOSE — Remembering fear from the past and responding to terror of the present, the Alum Rock school board on Thursday dedicated $250,000 for a legal defense related to immigration raids and deportations.

The board unanimously approved a proposal that trustee Khanh Tran said made fiscal sense. Losing students — to deportation, or any other reason — costs the district major revenue, which the state and federal government remit based on enrollment.

“This $250,000 actually protects us,” Tran said.

Trustee Andres Quintero said the measure was mostly symbolic, sending the message that the Alum Rock district stands behind all its students, regardless of immigration status. “I would move forward to push back against any action by the federal government,” he said.

“It’s personal for me.” Quintero recalled his father, who snuck across the border with a younger brother, an aunt who was deported more than once and cousins who still lack papers. He recounted people fearing a knock on the door, or agents tearing off locks and barging into homes.

Alum Rock already had reached out to its fearful residents, last year declaring itself a sanctuary district. Superintendent Hilaria Bauer spent part of winter vacation visiting the houses of residents fearful of deportation, and offering reassurance and promises of support.

It wasn’t immediately clear exactly where the district, which is deficit spending and whose current-year budget was denied full approval by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, will get the promised money for immigration defense.

“We will let staff figure out where we are going to get $250,000,” trustee Dolores Marquez-Frausto said. “We have to not allow our families to be harassed, separated and intimidated.”

But critics said the measure will further eat into the budget.

“We are not in the legal business, we’re in the education business,” said Raymond Mueller, who heads the district’s citizen’s bond …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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