Feds Remind Schools To Accept Kids Of Undocumented Migrants

Photo courtesy of CBS News.

Photo courtesy of CBS News.

CBS News – The Justice and Education Departments are teaming up to remind public schools that they are required to provide all children with equal access to education at the elementary and secondary level┬áregardless of their parents’ or guardians’ citizenship or immigration status.

The “dear colleague,” letter to schools providing guidance to schools on their legal obligations comes as the departments say they have “become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students.”

The guidelines do not change existing practices, but rather remind schools of obligations established by Plyler v. Doe, a 1982 Supreme Court case that affirmed all children are guaranteed equal access to a basic public education regardless of their immigration status. The Justice and Education Departments last issued guidance to schools on their responsibilities in 2011, and the 2014 documents update that guidance by stressing the need for “flexibility” in accepting documents from parents to prove a child’s age and area of residence, and remind schools what kinds of documents they can and cannot accept.

“We want to be sure every school leader understands the legal requirements under the Constitution and federal laws, and it is our hope that this update will address some of the misperceptions out there,” said Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement. “The message here is clear: let all children who live in your district enroll in your public schools.”

Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to “vigilantly enforce the law to ensure the schoolhouse door remains open to all.” Any actions to put up barriers to student enrollment, “not only harm innocent children, they also markedly weaken our nation…by leaving young people unprepared and ill-equipped to succeed,” he said.

Schools are allowed to request proof that children live within the boundaries of the district, for which they typically accept documents like copies of phone and water bills, lease agreements, and affidavits, the guidance says. While schools may accept a parents’ drivers license as evidence, they may not require it to establish residency since it would unlawfully bar a student whose parents in the U.S. illegally and do not have a drivers’ license. They may also not deny a homeless child access to school if he or she cannot provide documents to establish residency.

To prove a student meets age requirements, the school may accept certificates showing a date of birth from a religious institution, hospital or physician, an entry in a family bible, an adoption record, or a parent affidavit. A birth certificate is also an acceptable form of proof of age, but school districts are not allowed to discourage children from enrolling in or attending school because they do not have a birth certificate or they only have one from a foreign country.

The agencies also issue guidance on the use of Social Security numbers, which are often requested as a student identification number. If the district requests the number, the agencies say, they must inform parents and children that it is voluntary and refusing to provide a social security number will not result in their child being barred from enrolling or attending school. They also must explain what it is used for.

Schools are also specifically advised not to inquire about a student’s immigration or citizenship status, because that information, “is not relevant to establishing residency in the district, and inquiring about it in the context of establishing residency is unnecessary and may have a chilling or a discouraging effect on student enrollment,” a Q&A document for school says.

32 comments

  • Jcar

    FEDs need to make the parents responsible for the legal obligations that they should be Required to have and take care of concerning being legal in this Country! Ridiculous!!

  • D

    One thing that puzzles me is why is it when I enrolled both of my children who were born here in the states, that I HAD to provide a “certified copy” of their birth certificates for enrollment. I had the hospital copy, but no that was NOT accepted by the public school. So I had to request and pay additional dollars just for a piece of paper confirming my children’s birth. But yet according to this article, illegal children do not have to provide proof and are required to be enrolled. That is completely Ridiculous!!

    • ann

      D i faced the same problem with my stepson. they should have to follow the same guidelines. and yes our schools have become over filled due to the illiegals

  • Arnold Fudpucker

    And we continue to hear from the schools that they need MORE money and MORE new buildings because of the growing student population.
    We are NOT mexico’s welfare system! Continuing to force these illegals down our throats just so the political pukes can buy votes is sickening. It is time to start throwing these politcal bums out and let them take their illegals with them.
    Just like the voter ID laws. Can you give me one good reason people should have to show proof of citizenship? And please don’t give me the old “it’s too hard for them to get I.D’s”… Those folks have NO problem getting drivers licenses and the plethora of gubbamint handouts that require ID.

    • ann

      arnold you are so right. it really vexs me that they are trying to remove the proof of id to vote. you have to have id to write a check, cash a check, get a job, drive a car, apply for benfits, so why not the most important thing, who is going to run our country

    • Joanne

      I had to show my DL or voter ID card when I voted. Most places make you..
      And if we let the little illegal kids In to our schools, maybe they will learn the proper measures for becoming a citizen and go and do it themselves and teach their parents how to..

      • Arnold Fudpucker

        That is a nice thought Joanne but it isn’t what happens. These illegals are coming here to take advantage of all the handouts our crooked gubbamint gives out. These folks are not like the ones that came over in the previous centuries. Today’s illegals have NO intention of assimilating, rather, they want us to change our culture to suit them. Look at all the signs in Spanish for instance. Do you see signs in German, Japanese, or Greek? These kids learn how to fleece our society from their parents so don’t look for them to become good little citizens.

  • ann

    i remember when just about 5 years ago, my step son moved to the town where his father was to live with us. i was not able to get him in school until i sent off and got him a birth certificate. so i had to order one and expidite it. i don’t mind the illiegals children going to school to learn, but i do mind paying out extra for bilingal or spanish speaking people to acamadate them. they need to be taught english first.

  • ann

    and what about the vaccines needed and required by the school system for good americans to get in school. yet the illiegals are not required proof of vaccines. just saying easy for illiagels for not for the citzens of the usa. go figure

    • Tom

      Ann, All children must show proof of immunization within 30 days of entering school. They can bring shot records from other countries. If shots are needed they MUST go to the department of health. There, addition forms of documentation are required.

  • a volunteer

    And give them free meals and government assistance while our own United States citizens have to do without. This is total bullcrap.

  • Sam

    The children should not suffer for for their parents status. They are innocent children and have no influence on their parents decision. These illegal immigrants do work hard when they are here in the U.S. Believe it or not they do help keep food and other service cost down. Sure there are people who say they take advantage of our healthcare and don’t pay taxes either, but there is a lot of Americans that take advantage of out healthcare too. Our government also allows the rich and big corporations to get out of paying billions in taxes through loop holes they have provided. More than any illegal will ever pay. Don’t hate what you don’t understand. These people are just trying to make a living like the rest of us. You would do the same if you was in their position.

    • Arnold Fudpucker

      Typical left liberal thinking. Excuse the problem by blaming something or someone else. Problem is you still have a problem, get it?

    • ann

      sam they do work very hard here in the usa, but they also drive new vechiles and have nice homes and wear only name brand clothes. then they get free medical care and food stamps. go figure. but nice to know how they do all this. oh i know. so sorry me no speak or understand english

  • Sarah 1

    I agree Sam. Immunization is required by all students. The children are blameless. Reagan legalized twelve million illegal aliens in 1986. Where was the outrage then?
    Oh wait, our government was bi-partisan at the time. Maybe that could work again? Great idea!

    • Arnold Fudpucker

      Two wrongs don’t make a right…remember? Reagan was wrong and the number of illegals has more than tripled now.

  • Sarah

    Enjoying yourself? Brush your teeth and go to bed little one.
    Infantile behavior is repulsive at thirty.

  • Sarah

    Destroying the nation with regulations, taxing hardworking americans and giving it to lazy bums how do you live with yourself.

  • Sarah

    The Rainbow dust and unicorn milk world the liberal are living in will eventually come to a crashing halt

  • Mark Smith

    The hate displayed above is in line with the ignorance and hypocrisy of the area, clearly Arkansas deserves its ranking of 48th in the country in education.

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