Illinois School Nixes Basketball Team's Trip to Arizona Over Immigration Law

Published May 12, 2010

| FoxNews.com

Parents in Illinois are outraged over a move by a local high school to scrap its girls basketball team's trip to Arizona over the Grand Canyon State’s new immigration law.

The Highland Park High School varsity basketball team has been selling cookies for months to raise money for a tournament in Arizona..

Now, after winning their first conference title in 26 years, the girls are being denied the opportunity to play in the tournament over safety concerns and because the trip “would not be aligned” with the school's “beliefs and values,” Assistant Superintendent Suzan Hebson told the Chicago Tribune.

Hebson said Arizona is off-limits, at least until it’s more clear how the state’s new law, which makes it a crime to be in the country illegally, will be enforced.

"We would want to ensure that all of our students had the opportunity to be included and be safe and be able to enjoy the experience," Hebson told the Tribune about the tournament. "We wouldn't necessarily be able to guarantee that."

Parents said there was no vote or consultation regarding the decision, which they called confusing, especially since they say no players on the team are illegal immigrants.

“I’m not sure whose values and what values and what beliefs they’re talking about, we were just going to Arizona to play basketball and our daughters were very disappointed to find out the trip had been canceled,” Michael Evans, a father of one of the players told Fox News.

Evans said if for some reason a player was worried about her safety, she could always opt to stay home from the December tournament without forcing the entire team to do the same.

“This tournament was voluntary, so students could decide not to go if they thought they were at some sort of risk of some sort of harm to themselves, but to penalize all the other girls because of some potential risk? I don’t understand it,” he said.

Evans said he also failed to understand why the school allowed so many other trips, but not this one.

“The school has sent children to China, they’ve sent children to South America, they’ve sent children to the Czech Republic, but somehow Arizona is more unsafe for them than those places,” he said.

“The beliefs and values of China are apparently aligned, since they approved that trip,” he added.

One player, who said she is against the Arizona law, told Fox News she didn’t see how the tournament was related.

“It’s ultimately the state’s decision, no matter what I think. Not playing basketball in Arizona is not going to change anything,” she told Fox News.

The district said in a statement Wednesday that is legally required to provide an education to all children within its borders regardless of immigration status and is responsible for their "safety, security and liberty" when they travel. 

"The selection of a varsity basketball team for the 2010-2011 winter athletic season will take place in November, 2010. The team has yet to be selected," the statement read. "We cannot commit at this time to playing at a venue where some of our students’ safety or liberty might be placed at risk because of state immigration law."

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/12/hoop-dreams-shattered-arizona-safety-fears/