Friday, July 23, 2010

Chasing Away the Undocumented Kids the New York Way

Nina Bernstein in the N.Y. Times reports that, althougfh the Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe (1982) heeld that undocumented children cannot be denied a public K-12 education, many school districts in New York are requiring a child’s immigration papers as a prerequisite to enrollment, or asking parents for information that only lawful immigrants can provide.  The New York Civil Liberties Union warned in a letter to the state’s education commissioner that the requirements listed by many registrars “will inevitably discourage families from enrolling in school for fear that they would be reported to federal immigration authorities.”  The group has been pushing the State Education Department to stop the practices, which range from what the advocates consider unintentional barriers, like requiring a Social Security number, to those the letter called “blatantly discriminatory,” like one demanding that noncitizen children show a “resident alien card,” with the warning that “if the card is expired, it will not be accepted.” The Education Department has resisted doing anything to address the issue directly, in contrast with Maryland, Nebraska and New Jersey.


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