From School Suspension to Immigration Detention

From School Suspension to Immigration Detention

Alice Speri, The Intercept, Feb. 11, 2018 - "The path from school to immigration detention usually goes like this: A teenager, often recently resettled in the United States, gets into some sort of trouble at school. Sometimes, as in Dennis’s case, a fight triggers a criminal charge — making the teen a direct target for removal. Other times, the violation of some school code, official or unofficial, can prompt school administrators to label a teen as a gang member. It could be a shirt of the wrong color, a doodle scribbled on a notebook, lingering a moment too long in a certain hallway, or talking to someone the school has already determined belongs to a gang. In the absence of a criminal record, it’s not always clear how that information ends up in the hands of police and immigration authorities — but it usually does. Days, weeks, or sometimes months after the incident that earned them the “gangster” label, teens might find Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials knocking on their doors and detaining them, sometimes transferring them to a facility on the other side of the country — a distinct iteration of the criminalization of youth that some have dubbed the “school-to-deportation pipeline.” "