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Resources for Immigrant and Refugee Families
Resources for Immigrant and Refugee Families

Minneapolis Public Schools is a safe place for all students and families, regardless of their immigration status, national origin or language. The Minneapolis Board of Education affirmed this in a resolution passed last December. 

It is not the role of the district to ask about the citizenship or immigration status of any of our students or families, or to enforce federal immigration laws. It has been our practice to only provide information when required by law or a valid court order. MPS will continue to ensure all students have equitable access to educational and extracurricular opportunities, including rigorous courses, engaging activities, high-quality athletics and supportive services, regardless of immigration status.

If you have questions about what this means for you or your family, read the Frequently Asked Questions below. At the bottom of the page is information regarding support for unaccompanied minors enrolled in Minneapolis Public Schools. Additional resources are located on the right-hand side of the webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Recent executive orders declare that undocumented persons who receive certain government aid will be deported. What does this mean related to receiving Free/Reduced Price lunch?

  • This is not new, however, what may happen is more vigorous enforcement as it called for the identification and removal “as expeditiously as possible.”  It is important to know that participation in public schools, including the free/reduced price lunch program is available to all children regardless of their status or a parent's status.

What about the data in the Free/Reduced Price lunch forms?  What is in there and who has access?

  • The data needed to apply for Free/Reduced Price lunch does not include citizen status, and only the last four digits of an adult member’s social security number is required or to make an indication of “none” if the adult has none.  Other foreign adults, in addition to undocumented persons, do not have social security numbers.  The data provided in the form is subject to strict privacy protections put forth by the United Stated Department of Agriculture (“USDA”).   The USDA has consistently communicated that “all school-aged children in income eligible households can receive school meal benefits regardless of the immigration status of household members, and that information provided by the household will not be used for immigration-related purposes.”

What happens with the data required in background checks for parents who wish to volunteer?

  • In order to conduct a background check, the District requires a social security number.  It is important to know that all parents can volunteer in different capacities even if they do not have a social security number or do not want the District to use it.  It does mean that certain volunteer opportunities like overnight trips will not be available to such parents.  The District uses a service to gather information relevant to the background check, and securely stores the background check results.  Such documentation is regularly shredded and purged.

Why did the Board of Education pass the resolution?

  • The Board of Education passed the resolution to reinforce existing Minneapolis Public Schools’ (MPS) policies and practices that make MPS a safe place for all students and families, regardless their immigration status, national origin or language.

Will there be significant changes after the Board of Education’s resolution?

  • There will not be significant changes. MPS is recommitting to the policies and practices that already exist and sharing information with staff, students, families and community members to ensure they are aware of school policies and practices regarding citizenship and immigration status.

What is MPS’ equal education policy, and where can I find more information about it?

  • The purpose of this policy is to ensure that equal educational opportunity is provided for all students regardless their immigration status, national origin or language. MPS is committed to the success of every student, and our mission is to support students to be career and college ready.

Will MPS turn-over citizenship or immigration status information, if requested by a government agency representative?

  • MPS does not collect or keep citizenship and immigration status information or enforce immigration laws.

What happens when a representative of any government agency comes to the schools or makes a request?

  • If a representative of any government agency inquires about a student or family, they are referred to the MPS Office of General Counsel. General Counsel then requires substantiation of legal authority or a court order before releasing any information the district may have about a student or family.  General Counsel will provide notice to families unless the governmental agency has required the District not to provide notice, and has provided appropriate legal authority.

How can families prepare for the possibility of deportation?

  • Update your emergency contact information with Minneapolis Public Schools by contacting the main office of your student's school.
  • Create and discuss a Family Preparedness Plan
  • Parents may designate a temporary legal guardian for their children for a period of up to one year with a Delegation of Parental Authority (PDF at LawHelpMN.org). With this form, a temporary legal guardian will be able to enroll children in school and deal with other educational matters so that children can continue their education uninterrupted.

Where can families find legal advice on immigration matters?

What rights do families have, regardless of immigration status?

What resources are available regarding the travel restrictions for citizens of Muslim countries?

What resources are available for educators to support students and families?

Support for Unaccompanied Minors Enrolled in Minneapolis Public Schools

Minnesota is also home to a number of children who have fled their home countries in Central America to seek refuge in the United States. Minneapolis Public Schools is proud to support and ensure the smooth integration of these students into our schools and community.

The Immigration Law Project: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid provides legal aid for immigrant students. In partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid provides free monthly legal clinics for students at Wellstone International High School and South High School. For more information about this partnership, please contact Mayra.Garcia-Rivera@mpls.k12.mn.us.  Unaccompanied minors who are in immigration court are able to call Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid's intake line during business hours at 612.332.1441 for aid. Spanish speaking staff members are available to do specialized intakes.

The following resources and background information are also available for those working with unaccompanied minors in Minneapolis: