Department of Education promises to protect immigrants after executive order

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The battle over President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration continues, and now, the New York City Department of Education is promising to protect students.

A one-page joint notification from Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and the commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs was sent to the families of 1.1 million students.

"It's important, because people need to feel protected here," parent Clark Sabbat said. "Because New York City honestly would shut down if all the immigrants were deported."

The letter reportedly assured parents of undocumented children that the Department will not release student information unless required by the law.

"It became very clear to me that as much as we could re-assure people, unless it was in writing, that it really wasn't going to have the importance of 'we're standing behind you,'" Farina said.

The chancellor's letter also stated that education department members will not ask about or keep a record of the immigration status of students or their family members. In addition, officials said they will not grant unlimited access to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"We put it clearly, these are your marching orders," Farina said. "This is what we do, and it's not about politics, believe it or not. It's about doing what educators do."

During a visit to the Holy Rosary School in the Bronx, Timothy Cardinal Dolan told Eyewitness News the president's executive order was very unfair and that it even shut down a visit from an archbishop from Iraq.

"He was going to come on Friday to see me, to kind of explain things, to see if we could give him any help," Cardinal Dolan said. "He can't come now because of this order. That's the unfairness of it...He's afraid to come. He's got his Visa and everything. But that adds to the injustice, because he has everything in order. But even he is saying, 'I'm kind of scared. I don't know if I should come or not.'"
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