Giving Compass' Take:

Educators that teach a high population of immigrant students are starting attend trainings and seek help from nonprofit immigration offices to learn how to help their students who are affected by deportations.

How can donors help families affected by deportation?

Read more about what school districts are doing to make kids fell safe and protected.


Albuquerque teacher Juan Ortega saw a change in one of his fourth graders after the boy came home from school one day to find his father had been deported. The student was one of Ortega’s strongest in the high-achieving bilingual program at Armijo Elementary, located in an area often patrolled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“He plummeted,” Ortega said. “He plummeted for a while until we were able to try to get him to understand that we use every obstacle as an opportunity. That’s always been my motto with my kids.”

While U.S. military troops have been at the border with Mexico since last fall as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to deal with an influx of asylum seekers, teachers in the classroom have been on the front lines of immigration enforcement for decades, doing their best to support students whose family members have been deported or who face deportation themselves.

Teachers’ jobs have been complicated by rising absenteeism, frustrated undocumented high schoolers who face insurmountable obstacles to attending college, and overstretched students who have taken on a job to help the family after a parent has been deported. And teachers themselves worry about what to do if Immigration and Customs Enforcement comes knocking.

Feeling a moral and ethical duty to help — yet uncertain how far their legal rights allow them to go — teachers are turning to nonprofit immigration law offices, training by education experts, and their own initiative to educate themselves.

“Students, teachers and administrators have rights, and have rights to protect the people around them, including their own students,” said Rebekah Wolf, an immigration lawyer with the nonprofit New Mexico Immigrant Law Center.

In the months after Trump’s inauguration, Wolf, a former high school teacher, initiated “know your rights” training sessions for educators in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. She focused her training on “what ICE is supposed to do and what ICE isn’t supposed to do.”

Read the full article about helping students affected by deportations by Lisa Button at The Hechinger Report