Des Moines Public School Board Unanimously Approves "Sanctuary" Resolutions

Feb 7, 2017

The Des Moines School Board has become the first in the state to adopt so-called sanctuary resolutions for immigrant and refugee students.  The seven member board voted unanimously tonight to enact two resolutions. One would give staff guidance if immigration officials inquire about a student.

“Schools shall not permit ICE officials to access students, their families or district staff and contractors at schools without having first contacted and processed their request and all relevant documentation through the superintendent,” Board Chair Teree Caldwell-Johnson says.

It will also affirm staff does not ask about a students’ citizenship and will provide education to all students regardless of immigration status. Board Member Rob Barron pointed out he is one of 16 Latino elected officials in Iowa. He says that put him at the front of the effort, but the resolutions are not about one group of Iowans.

“This action tonight is about good ethical governance that puts the needs of the whole first by acting to improve outcomes for those with a pronounced disadvantage,” Barron says. “That is equity and that is the job of anyone in elected service.”

The other resolution urges Congress and the Iowa General Assembly to protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA. Only support was voiced from the members of the public who spoke before the vote. Republican Congressman Steve King issued a statement saying the resolutions violate the constitution and two federal laws.