Boston’s public schools have for years been indirectly providing information to ICE on unruly illegal immigrant students, resulting in at least one of them getting deported, civil rights groups claimed Monday.
The groups said they’d obtained new documents as part of their lawsuit against the city that detailed what they called the “school-to-deportation pipeline,” with police officers who work in schools sharing security incidents with a regional police network. That network is funded by a Homeland Security grant, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has access to its work, the groups said.
“Boston claims to be a sanctuary city, yet city officials continue to place students at risk of deportation through entanglement with ICE,” said Roger Rice, executive director of Multicultural Education, Training and Advocacy, Inc., on of a number of groups involved in the lawsuit.
The information-sharing came to light two years ago after a high school student attempted to start a fight and was reported to the regional law enforcement information network. ICE then arrested the student and eventually deported him.
School officials denied sharing information directly with ICE, but acknowledged they send incident reports to the Boston Police Department.
“Student safety is at the forefront of Boston Public Schools. BPS does not share student information with ICE. BPS does share school police incident reports with our local law enforcement in connection with their criminal investigations or if the incident reports contain information that, if shared with the BPD, is useful to ensure the safety of the school, public, and the city’s neighborhoods,” the school system said.
The incident reports are written by Boston School Police, who are assigned to the schools under an arrangement with the city police. As security reports, they are not private student records and so they can be shared with the city police.
But the school system said it has updated its policies to create more oversight on what incidents get reported.
Massachusetts has become one of the key legal battlegrounds over ICE and its role as the country’s chief immigrant detention and deportation agency.
A federal judge has ruled that ICE officers can be barred from making arrests of illegal immigrants at state courthouses.
Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, have brought a case against a state judge accusing her of conspiring to release an illegal immigrant out a courtroom back door because she knew ICE was waiting to arrest the person.