California school district calls for reduction in ICE activity during pandemic

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VISTA, Calif. (Border Report) — The Vista School District has endorsed “A New Border Vision,” calling for the reduction of Border Patrol agents and other Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel within district boundaries.

Vista is a city located in northern San Diego County, about an hour north of the California-Mexico border.

According to the Vista School Board, the resolution supports “expanding public safety, protects human rights and welcomes people with dignity at the border.” It also calls on Congress to eliminate unreasonable searches by federal authorities and end potential profiling by federal authorities, eliminate the federal government’s authority to waive all local, state and federal laws to build border barriers, and end the criminalization of migrants “for simply being migrants.”

Vista School Board Member Cipriano Vargas led the drive to have his school district approve the “New Border Vision.”

Boardmember Cipriano Vargas led the effort to have the notion approved.

“The high presence of Border Patrol and ICE in North County San Diego also means that families and students who need to access medical supplies and health care during the COVID-19 public health crisis face yet another barrier to being able to get the help they need,” Vargas said. “The emotional stress and anxiety that students who are part of immigrant families face as a result of the high presence of border agents in the region negatively impacts the learning outcomes of all students.”

ICE says the manner and location of arrests are made on a case-by-case basis. The agency has previously issued and implemented a policy that limits enforcement actions at sensitive locations, including schools, healthcare facilities and places of worship.

“The policy is intended to guide ICE officers’ and agents’ actions when enforcing federal law at or focused on sensitive locations, to enhance public understanding and trust, and to ensure that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so, without fear or hesitation,” according to the ICE website.

The Vista School District is the fourth largest in San Diego County and has about 20,000 students at 32 schools ranging from kindergarten to high school.

Other municipalities including the cities of San Francisco and Berkeley, Calif., as well as the Berkeley School District, have already adopted the “New Border Vision” resolution.

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