Obama administration stands by immigrant students' right to pursue school education through a letter

May 09, 2014
U.S. schools warned not to deny students over immigration status

According to news reports, the Obama administration has through a formal joint letter of the U.S. Education and Justice departments warned the state and local school districts that they ought not to stop children of undocumented immigrants from being admitted to schools. The letter states that the departments had come to know of this actions/practices being undertaken in some schools which intend to discourage or prevent or warn parents or their wards from enrolling in schools. The aforesaid letter added that such practices were in violation of federal laws. This letter which is further to and updates the guidelines of 2011 regarding this same matter/issue did not mention or indicate any names (of school districts).

This issue is one among the many that divide pro-immigrant and anti-immigrant advocates and bring them into sharp opposition. It is also a fact that some differences were/are there between some states and the federal government on this kind of issues. Even the courts have passed judgments in this regard and mostly these have been in favour of immigrant rights i.e. for allowing immigrant children s’ rights to study in schools. For example, there was a 2011 law of Alabama state that sought to ensure that schools ask the immigrant children their immigration status as well as of their parents. The courts blocked such laws from being implemented.

The joint letter on Thursday sought to seek the backing of U.S. Supreme Court's 1982 ruling in Plyler v. Doe, which effectively stated that citizenship status is not at all relevant to a pupil’s/student'sright/claim/guarantee to an elementary and secondary education. The letter also emphasized that school districts ought not to seek information from either parents or pupils to deny access to education based on race, color or nationality. In this regard, the letter spelled out what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
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