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Beyond Borders

A blog about immigration in the New York region

NYCLU raises alarm on schools asking immigration status


The New York State Education Department is making clear to school districts that they cannot seek documentation of immigration status as a prerequisite to enrolling a child in school. The New York Civil Liberties Union wrote to the state in July, saying that a survey of all 694 school districts found that at least 139 were asking, directly or indirectly, for proof of a parent or child’s status.

The organization wrote to Commissioner David Steiner:

Asking for such documentation is at best irrelevant to proving eligibility to attend school in a particular district, and at worst a deliberate attempt to prevent undocumented children from enrolling in school.

Undocumented children have the same right to a free public education as other children. State guidelines recommend proper ways to determine a child’s age and residency, saying schools “should avoid asking questions related to immigration status or that might reveal a child’s immigration status, such as asking for a Social Security number.”

Among the 139 districts where the NYCLU identified problems were these Westchester County districts:

Eastchester, Tarrytowns, Somers, Rye City, Rye Neck, Pelham, Mamaroneck, Hastings, Harrison, Elmsford, Dobbs Ferry, Croton-Harmon, Bronxville and Blind Brook.

The NYCLU analysis and the state guidance are linked on this site. The state regs are also here.

ADDED: Noreen O’Donnell reports on the response of local districts in this Journal News article.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 at 1:21 pm |

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