DALLAS - After President-elect Donald Trump pledged to deport immigrants who are in the country illegally, at least one Dallas ISD school board trustee wants to declare the district a "safe haven" for immigrant students.
It's a move school districts have made around the country following Trump’s election.
The resolution hasn't been written yet but would likely reaffirm the superintendent's authority to protect student's immigration status. It would also prohibit ICE agents from showing up at a school without permission from the superintendent.
Kattelen Peres says she's afraid Trump will soon make good on his campaign promise to deport illegal immigrants. That would include her.
“I’m afraid of what he will do,” she said. “I want the American Dream. I want freedom and peace for every immigrant. I don't want to live in fear. I want to belong."
Kattelen has already talked about it with her little brother, who was born in the U.S.
“We've talked about one day if I am deported, he has to stay here with my grandma or family members,” the senior Samuel High School student said.
Worried that immigrant students will be distracted from learning, a group is urging Dallas ISD to pass a resolution to declare the district a safe haven.
One teacher explained why she believes it is necessary.
“I have one particular student, we're going to call him David. David came to me and said, ‘If I'm not here, it's because I've been deported,’” the teacher recalled. “The fact he came and said that to me just broke my heart."
School Board Trustee Jaime Resendez explained why he wants to introduce a safe haven resolution for students.
“I'm the son of two Mexican immigrants,” the board member explained. “My parents worked hard all of their lives, set the example of what we should do to take advantage of the opportunities we have in this country."
They are opportunities that Kattelen, who has lived in the U.S. for most of her life, does not want to miss.
“Immigrants have already made America great,” she said.
Resendez plans to introduce a safe haven resolution in time for a vote next month. The superintendent has not yet if he would support the resolution.