Sanctuary policies to be discussed by Amnesty

TriCities group will have two speakers talking about registering students and others regardless of their immigrant or refugee status of themselves or parents

Developing sanctuary in British Columbia will be discussed at the next meeting of TriCities Amnesty International on Feb. 27.

New Westminster board of education chair Mark Gifford will be one of the featured speakers on that district being the first in B.C. to adopt a sanctuary school policy in 2017. The move ensures all children, regardless of the status of their parents, can attend school. The move came a year after the city of Vancouver passed a policy to provide safe access to city services for those with uncertain immigration status.

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Gifford will be joined by Alejandra Lopez Bravo of Sanctuary Health, a not-for-profit organization that supports access to health care and education for all immigrants and refugees regardless of their status.

A press release from the TriCities Amnesty International said in the Coquitlam school district families have to register their children at a school with settlement workers in it to make sure the children can be registered. There is no policy to guarantee access, but district officials believe no children are turned away, said the release. It noted most school districts ask for proof of immigration status before registration which can scare away some parents from registering their children.

The open meeting will be held Feb. 27, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in Room 137k of the Coquitlam City Centre Library.

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