Students Fear Deportation, BISD Says “Don’t Worry”

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Senate Bill 4, also known as the anti-sanctuary cities bill, allows law enforcement to request legal status of individuals detained. 

The bill will be effective as of September first, and some undocumented students are afraid to go back to school. 

Esperanza Zendejas, Brownsville Independent School District Superintendent, said the district is not concerned about students’ immigration status. 

“Our role is to educate the students and our Police Department our Security Department do not involve themselves in any type of immigration questioning or concerns,” she said.

“Now what will happen, is if a student commits a crime obviously we have to report it to other authorities. What happens outside the school district boundaries, that is not something we concern ourselves with,” Zendejas said. 

Zendejas said the bill does not apply to policing within the school district. And district officers and security do not have any role in asking any student their immigration status. 

 “We want to assure listeners that as a school district our concern is to educate the students,” she told News Center 23’s Marlane Rodriguez in an interview. 

If a student wants to enroll at BISD, Zendejas said the district does not have the right to ask for immigration status. 

 “The law about educating the children is first and foremost the most important piece that I look at to guide us,” she said. 

The landmark Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe, ruled that children present in the United Sates are entitled to enrollment in public schools, regardless of their immigration status. 

“As a school district, we want to make sure that our students are not afraid because as a school we are going to protect our students,” she said. 

Classes for BISD students, starts on August 28, days before the law goes into effect.

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