CA Attorney General issues guidance regarding public school immigration enforcement
For California’s undocumented students, teachers and parents, their legal status is increasingly precarious in the current political climate. With this uncertainty in mind, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has released new guidance to help school districts respond to immigration issues.
“Every student, regardless of immigration status, is entitled to feel safe and secure at school,” Becerra said in a statement on the release of the guidelines.

For the estimated 250,000 undocumented children between the ages of 3 and 17 who are enrolled in California public schools, the 750,000 K-12 students in California who have an undocumented parent and the 5,000 undocumented teachers who reside here, nothing is certain when it comes to immigration.

Every student, regardless of immigration status, is entitled to feel safe and secure at school.
—Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General
Uncertainty surrounds the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides temporary protection from deportation and permission to legally work for individuals brought to the United States at a young age. In neighboring states, National Guard troops have been deployed to assist with border security and efforts to increase immigration enforcement through deportation are on the rise.
All of these issues are impacting the ability of school leaders to provide a safe campus environment for students. “It’s our duty as public officials and school administrators to uphold the rights of these students so that their education is not disrupted,” emphasized Becerra. The landmark 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision Plyler v. Doe affirmed that schools cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin, and Assembly Bill 699 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach and Chiu, D-San Francisco), signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2017, amended the Education Code to reinforce existing laws that are designed to provide learning environments that give all students the opportunity to succeed. For both school districts and county offices of education, AB 699 specifically:

  • Adds immigration status to the list of characteristics that are expressly protected from discrimination;
  • Prohibits collecting information or documents about the immigration status or citizenship of students and their families, unless they are required to do so by state or federal law in order to administer a state or federally supported educational program;
  • Requires superintendents to report to the governing board any requests for information or access to a school for the purposes of immigration enforcement;
  • Requires education for students about the negative impact of bullying based on immigration status or religious beliefs and customs; and
  • Requires adoption of a policy, by July 1, 2018, that is consistent with the Attorney General’s model policy regarding immigration enforcement at public schools.

  • New guidance on immigration enforcement at public schools
  • Updated CSBA sample policy available
CSBA helped shape the Attorney General’s model policy, and requirements from that policy and AB 699 have been incorporated into CSBA’s new sample policy BP 5145.13 – Response to Immigration Enforcement. The accompanying administrative regulation includes detailed procedures for how schools can respond when immigration authorities request information about or access to students or school grounds for immigration enforcement purposes.

CSBA has also updated other sample policies and regulations that are impacted by AB 699, including BP/AR 5125 – Student Records; AR 5125.1 – Release of Directory Information; BP/AR 5111 – Admission, BP/AR 5111.1 – District Residency; BP/AR 5131.2 – Bullying; and BP/AR 0410 – Nondiscrimination in District Programs and Activities. Districts and county offices of education are encouraged to contact CSBA’s policy services to find out more about revising and adopting these sample policies to help ensure safe and secure learning environments at their schools.

To view the California Attorney General’s policy guidance, visit bit.ly/2AOCTlg.