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Ohio Legislators Want to Make Sanctuary Schools Illegal

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The Dayton, Ohio, Board of Education adopted a policy barring immigration agents from enforcing on school grounds. A new bill in the Ohio State House would end that.

Two Ohio state legislators have launched a bid to block Ohio cities and their schools from enacting so-called sanctuary rules, after Dayton school officials enacted a policy to protect immigrant families.

Late last month, the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education voted to adopt a “Safe and Welcoming School District Resolution” that bars federal immigration agents from enforcing on school grounds without a warrant and prohibits the collection and release of data on students’ immigration statuses to authorities. The resolution also mandates training for educational staff on how to respond to instances where immigration agents target school community members for enforcement.

“Our resolution required our district to do everything in its lawful power to protect our students’ confidential information and ensure that our students’ learning environments are not disrupted by immigration enforcement actions,” says Mohamed Al-Hamdani, a school board member and attorney. “This was an important step to letting every immigrant in our community know that they are welcomed here.”

But not everyone agrees. State Representatives Niraj Antani of Miamisburg and Candice Keller of Middletown, both Republicans, introduced a bill in the Ohio State House of Representatives last week that would reverse the Dayton schools’ resolution and penalize its enforcement. The bill would “require state and local authorities to cooperate with the federal government in the enforcement of immigration laws, to sanction those that fail to do so, and to declare an emergency.” State and municipal entities, like Dayton’s public schools, that are found not to comply with the legislation would become ineligible for local government or Department of Homeland Security funding, which is used for school safety and emergency preparedness training.

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