Can My Child’s School Give ICE Information About Our Family?

By all accounts, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents under the Trump administration has disregarded the previous administration’s policy of avoiding immigration enforcement actions at “sensitive locations,” such as schools, churches, and courthouses. This means that schools across the nation, and particularly those in communities with high concentration of immigrants, should be aware of their duties to both protect their students and comply with federal law. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the confidentiality of student records and personal identification information. While there are exceptions to this law, there is no general exception that allows ICE or the federal government in general to access student records. Unless there is an issue regarding an international student who has overstayed his or her visa, ICE generally cannot have unfettered access to students’ educational records. Likewise, while a school that can release personal information about a student in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena in connection with a health or safety emergency, and in connection with a student engaged in a crime of violence or a sex offense, there is, again, no exception for students who are not involved in a violent or dangerous activity. While policies differ across school districts, some schools have a policy permitting the release of “directory information” about their students. However, directory information never includes social security numbers. To the extent that ICE inquires about a student’s social security number, a school is not permitted to disclose it, or the absence of it, to ICE. In any case, if ICE agents approach a school, personnel should interact with them according to the same policies that govern their interactions with any law enforcement officers. However, the school should immediately contact the superintendent before making any decisions or taking any actions, and he or she should contact the school’s attorney for further guidance. When you or a loved one are detained and face deportation for any reason, Landerholm Immigration, here to help. We care about you, your family, and your ability to remain in the U.S. As a result, our California deportation defense lawyers stand ready to build the strongest possible deportation defense case on your behalf. Contact your Oakland immigration lawyer today and learn how we can advocate for you and your family in your deportation proceedings.

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