District to host meetings for immigrant and refugee families

Minneapolis Public Schools will host two meetings in March to answer questions for immigrant and refugee families in light of the political climate in the U.S.

The district will host the meetings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 1 at South High School and from 2 to 4:30 p.m. March 4 at the Davis Center. No registration is required.

A district spokeswoman said MPS wants to remind everyone that the district is a safe haven and doesn’t collect information about immigration status. Immigration officials would be immediately referred to the Office of the General Counsel if they requested information on a student, she said.

The meetings come in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. A federal judge blocked the order on Feb. 3, but Trump has indicated he will issue a new one.

Trump took a hard line on immigration leading up to the November general election, vowing to build a border wall with Mexico and deport people who were in the country illegally. He issued an executive order five days into his term that called for the immediate construction of the wall as well as increased efforts to deport unauthorized immigrants.

Minneapolis Supt. Ed Graff sent a letter to district families in the week after the election that said all students and their families have a place in MPS. The School Board in December passed a resolution reaffirming district practices regarding collecting immigration status and working with immigration officials.

The School Board reaffirmed that resolution with another resolution at its Feb. 14 meeting.

School Board member Bob Walser, who brought forth the most recent resolution, said he thinks it’s important that the board and community stand behind refugee communities.

“We want to keep everyone appraised that we are firm in our resolve,” he said.

MPS is hosting the meetings in conjunction with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota, the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, the Somali American Parent Association and Navigate MN. Visit mpls.k12.mn.us for more information.