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School leader opposes undocumented immigrants being pulled from classrooms

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell is incensed by President Trump’s plan to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months
Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell is incensed by President Trump’s plan to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months File photo

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell is incensed by President Trump’s plan to dismantle protections for young undocumented immigrants.

“This decision makes me angry, sad and determined,” Bedell said in a statement released on Thursday. “Let me make this clear: I will oppose anything that makes it more difficult for our children to succeed.”

Bedell released the statement in response to recent declaration by the Trump administration to end protections for young undocumented immigrants who were illegally brought into the U.S. by their parents. Some came as babies.

Trump has said he plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months. DACA was initiated by Obama when he was president, to prevent the deportation of young, undocumented immigrants and to provide them a path to citizenship.

Bedell said he loves the diversity of the city and its school district where students and their families speak about 60 different languages.

“That makes us stronger and better,” he said. “ Our children are more prepared to thrive in the rapidly changing global economy.”

He vowed to “not tolerate, endorse or facilitate,” any attempt to take children or their family members into custody and disrupt learning in Kansas City schools.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a longstanding policy directing agents to avoid conducting enforcement activities at what they call “sensitive locations,” including churches, hospitals and schools.

“This order is aimed squarely at some of our most vulnerable families. It has the potential to become a nightmare for our children,” Bedell said.

“I have had too many personal interactions with these young people to simply stand by while this nation pulls the rug out from underneath them. I have seen how much it means to them that they can pursue their dreams.”

This is the second time Bedell has made a statement in support of immigrant children enrolled in Kansas City Public Schools. He also spoke after Trump announced a travel ban for immigrants from some predominantly Muslim countries.

On Wednesday, similar statements supporting DACA students were also released by leaders at colleges and universities in Missouri and Kansas as well as from leaders in the Shawnee Mission and Kansas City, Kan., public schools.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc

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