Niles North High School, a suburban Chicago high school with roughly 2,000 students, approved the distribution of flyers last week that instruct students how to disobey federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.
The school has long taken pride in its large immigrant population. It is “one of the most culturally diverse in the nation, with over 90 languages represented,” according to an official video.
However, school officials apparently refuse to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants.
The school’s principal, James Edwards, sent an e-mail Feb. 28 to students, reassuring them that the school would be a “safe place for all students during these uncertain times” and sending them a “big hug.”
In a separate email to staff, including teachers, Edwards informed them that a student organization called the Immigration Rights Club would be providing them with materials about how to defy federal immigration authorities. The letter read, in part:
Dear Niles North Staff:
Many of our students have expressed fear and anxiety regarding deportation policies for undocumented immigrants. Because many students in our diverse community are immigrants and refugees, they may be lost and confused about their rights. Numerous students have spoken to their teachers about their immigration status, and are worried for themselves and families especially if officers from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency visit a student’s home.
As a response, the Immigration Rights Club will be putting informational fliers in your mailboxes that explain the rights immigrants have if officers from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency come to their door. They would greatly appreciate it if you could give out these fliers to your students, regardless of whether they have ever expressed concerns on immigration before. Although highly unlikely, I have also instructed our security staff to notify me immediately if officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency arrive at Niles North. Also please emphasize to your students that all students are safe here.
The materials from the club (below) advise “undocumented” students not to open doors for federal immigration agents, not to say anything, and not to sign anything. The materials also urge students to “report and record” agents, and to “fight back” — using a raised fist as a symbol — using a “trustworthy attorney.”
It is not clear why the school decided to distribute the materials for the students, rather than merely allowing the students to distribute the materials themselves independently — for example, on public sidewalks outside the school itself.
Breitbart News made several efforts, by e-mail and telephone, to contact Edwards, without success.
Joel B. Pollak is a Niles North alumnus and a legal immigrant. He is also Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.