On Tuesday, the school board will vote on a resolution denouncing Arizona's controversial new immigration law. The resolution would also caution the school district's students and families from traveling to or spending time in Arizona due to the risk they may face.
De Beck said he understands critics' concerns that the resolution is a waste of the school board's time. He said that the resolution doesn't mean anything and that the Arizona law is not the school board's business.
"Whether we don't like their laws is not relevant, so the point is: Why should we just grandstand around the idea that we don't support the law of the state when the fact is that we have no power in that state," De Beck said. "What we should be doing is acting for the rights of children and propose things that will make it better for children."
De Beck said that if the board is going to take a stance, it should do more to protect students by helping get temporary visas for their illegal immigrant parents until the children turn 18.
"I want to protect legal citizen children," De Beck said. "That's my job. I'm a school board member."
Board President Richard Barrera, who proposed the resolution, said Arizona's law is the board's business and is not merely symbolic, because almost half of the students in the district are Latino. In fact, 75 percent of the students in the San Diego Unified School District are children of color.
Barrera said passing the resolution would send a message to those students and their families that in California, they will not be the target of people who want to blame them for the budget cuts. He also said that while he supports De Beck's intentions in taking the resolution further, he said the school board is not in the business of making immigration policies.