Some urge Wake County schools to set up ‘safe zones’ for immigrants

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Some children and parents say they’re living in fear.

They want Wake County schools to take more steps, including establishing safe zones.

But, school leaders say a lot of the protections they want are already in place.

Meliza Garcia says she worries when she goes to school.

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“We don’t know if we should either be worrying about ICE coming in and taking us out from our own education,” Garcia said while holding her brother.

Along with other immigrant families and supporters, she came to the Wake County School Board Tuesday night with a request.

They want the board to formally designate schools as safe zones and oppose having ICE carry out any enforcement activities on campuses.

“We’re shocked and worried,” said Martha Hernandez, who spoke through an interpreter.

Hernandez said her children feel that way also.

“I would like you to understand that a child cannot focus on their education and their future,” Hernandez said.

President Trump made immigration a key focus of his campaign and wants to hire 15,000 more border patrol and immigration officers.

ICE generally avoids carrying out enforcement activities in places like schools, but detained a man in California as he dropped his children off last week.

Board member Jim Martin says he’s heard the concerns, but that existing local and state policies address the issue.

“This has been settled by the U.S. Supreme Court, that all children, documented and undocumented, are entitled to equal protection,” Martin said.

The board did not take any action on the plan Tuesday night.

People who spoke say policies should be more clear about what school staff should do if agents were to try to engage with students at schools.

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