Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos set off a furor over comments she made to members of Congress suggesting that schools should decide whether or not to report undocumented students and their families to federal immigration authorities.
The head of the Education Department shifted the responsibility of reporting undocumented students to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to principals and teachers when she said on Tuesday, “it’s a local community decision.”
“I think that is — that is a school decision,” DeVos said during her testimony before the House Education and Workforce Committee after Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., pressed her on the issue of undocumented students. “It’s a local community decision and again I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate and I urge this body to do its job and address and clarify where there is confusion around this.”
Espaillat immediately rebuked the secretary’s statement, stressing that immigration policies are defined and executed by the federal government, not by communities.
“Let me just remind Madam Chair that immigration law is federal law,” he said. “It’s not a local law. It’s not governed by a municipality.”