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LA School Board Delays Decision On Legal Aid For Students Facing Deportation

LOS ANGELES ( — Some Los Angeles Unified school board members have signaled support for a plan to provide free legal aid to what officials say would be a "limited number" of students who are facing deportation.

KNX 1070's Claudia Peschiutta reports the Board of Education has postponed a final decision on the program, which would allocate around a dozen LAUSD attorneys to handle deportation cases for "unaccompanied minors residing within LAUSD boundaries" on a pro bono basis.

Board members put off a vote Tuesday night on the Advocating for Youth Unaccompanied in Deportation Actions (AYUDA) program, an effort aimed at helping students such as one 16-year-old student from Guatemala, who told the Board he needs a lawyer after he entered the country illegally nearly two weeks ago.

LAUSD attorneys would maintain their current workload while taking on any new potential deportation cases, according to the district.

While there are an estimated hundreds of unaccompanied minors in the district in need of legal aid, only about a dozen cases would be taken on, school officials said.

Board Vice President Steve Zimmer is among those who believes student deportations are a humanitarian issue and that the AYUDA program could stabilize schools.

"Every day that we leave students in our district without the possibility of getting this representation is a day too long," said Zimmer.

But Monica Ratliff and other board members want to know more details before moving forward with the proposal.

"There's an urgency here, but I think that we really need to do this right," Ratliff said.

The proposal is scheduled to be heard at the next board meeting on Feb. 10.

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