For Principals and School District Staff: Undocumented Youth and Juvenile Justice

School administrators are often confused as to the degree of cooperation between the juvenile justice system and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). With good reason. Practices vary by state and local laws, and in the absence of any laws, the treatment of undocumented youth by juvenile justice systems can often be so unclear it varies by probation officer.

The following piece from the Anne E. Casy Foundation 2014 highlights this information and provides guidelines for beginning your own research into state and municipal laws governing city/state cooperation with ICE. These principles might be good to keep in mind:

  • — minimize unnecessary detention or separation of noncitizen youth from their families and communities;
  • — ensure that detention practices do not unfairly prejudice noncitizen youth;
  • — promote responses aimed at rehabilitation and reintegration;
  • minimize the unnecessary and often devastating immigration                — consequences for noncitizen youth of their involvement in the juvenile justice system; and
  • — preserve the ability of noncitizen youth to pursue immigration relief to which they may be entitled under federal law.

You Passed the Safe Haven Resolution, Now What?

It’s a cause for joy that more and more school districts are taking active steps to declare to families that they are safe havens and affirm that all students will be welcome and sheltered from whatever hostilities the Trump administration can sling at them. (We’ve always known that many of our students are not safe even before this administration came to power:  ones caught up in the Obama administration’s deportation grind or in the school-to-prison pipeline or told every day their lives are lesser, LGBTQIA or special needs students pushed out from schools.) But once you delve deeper into ICE raids and see how the fear continues to plague many mixed status families, you realize that the devil’s in the details.

Here are four checklists to ensure that the details of school policy actually address safety for students and their families. Give extra attention to school dropoff and pickup. We’re always updating these so if you find actions that are helpful to add, please send us those tips here.


SAFE HAVEN SCHOOLS- Training Families


SAFE HAVEN SCHOOLS Training Teachers


SAFE HAVEN SCHOOLS Training Staff Intake