Feds: Schools Can’t Shut Out Undocumented Immigrants

Caitlin Emma, Politico, May 8, 2014

The Obama administration delivered an unequivocally clear message–again–on Thursday: All children have a right to enroll in public schools regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

Three years after clarifying to schools that they cannot turn away children, the Education and Justice Departments issued another set of guidance documents that provide in painstaking detail what schools can and cannot ask for when families want to enroll their children. The agencies also provided examples of acceptable enrollment policies.

For example, schools can violate federal law by requiring Social Security numbers or birth certificates when a student wants to enroll. Schools can instead ask for proof of residency in a school district, which a family can do with an electric bill or copy of a lease.

In a Dear Colleague letter, the agencies say they’ve recently “become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status.”

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are 1.1 million undocumented children under age 18 living in the U.S.

On a call with reporters, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the department’s Office for Civil Rights has received 17 complaints related to school enrollment policies since its 2011 guidance on the issue. {snip}

Those are in addition to an undisclosed number of complaints filed with the Justice Department. {snip}

“Public school districts have an obligation to enroll students regardless of immigration status and without discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “The Justice Department will do everything it can to make sure schools meet this obligation. We will vigilantly enforce the law to ensure the schoolhouse door remains open to all.”

These state and district obligations are the result of the 1982 Supreme Court decision Plyler v. Doe, which struck down a Texas law that denied education funding for undocumented children. It also struck down the Tyler, Texas, school district’s attempt to charge undocumented families tuition to make up for the lost state funding.

As immigration reform stalls in Congress, states including Alabama and Arizona have passed their own laws to address the issue. Parts of the Alabama law dealing with school admissions have been blocked by courts, and much of Arizona’s law was nullified, too. State policies can’t trump the 32-year-old Supreme Court ruling, but the dueling requirements have clouded the picture for schools.

Jerri Katzerman, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, is less charitable.

“Some of it is ignorance, both feigned and acquired,” Katzerman said. “Often schools will say, ‘We didn’t deny any child.’ But we’ll ask, ‘How many children didn’t go through the process because of fear?’ It doesn’t create an inclusive, welcoming environment.”


The Education and Justice Departments also stress that schools have to “meaningfully communicate material information about enrollment” for families that aren’t proficient in English. Failing to provide interpreters or translated materials is often a problem, Katzerman said.

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  • MekongDelta69

    Legal, shmegal. We dun’ need no steenkin’ lawz.

    (shouting like the Hildebeast) “What difference does it make?”

  • Greg Thomas

    Illegal invaders deserve nothing more than a one way ticket home. Brown v. Board and Hart-Cellar have helped destroy this country.

    • Pro_Whitey

      Let’s not forget Plyler v Doe, the Supreme Court edict that illegal children could not be kept from public schools. I bet if my kids could not produce an SSN or proof of residence, they would be screwed, not accommodated, let alone defended by the “Justice” Department.

  • D.B. Cooper

    YOU put up with it, so keep paying for it.
    These boys are not your salvation, remove them from office!

    • DudeWheresMyCountry?

      I get you DB, but voting Democrat in protest is putting up with it too. It will be a cold day in he’ll when I vote for either party.

  • IstvanIN

    Pedophiles must love the no-ID laws. Anyone can go into a school and pick up any child they want.

    • D.B. Cooper

      I was thinking the same thing. No ID means some twentysomething illegal alien now has access to our schools.
      Hello? Republican Party? Hello? This straight ticket democrat has a few words for you.

      • Eagle_Eyed

        Quit voting Democrat. Please stay home instead.

        • JohnEngelman

          The GOP’s contributors in the business community like low wage immigrants to lower the wages of American citizens.

          • DonReynolds

            They lower the wages of American citizens to zero when they replace American workers with illegal alien coolie laborers, who will work for substandard wages or off the books.

        • 2eRep

          No vote third party or write in, staying home accomplishes nothing.

    • 1stworlder

      For some reason I both cofcc and here have ignored my tip about the Delaware Attorney General Daniel Simmons,that resigned after raping a 16yo boy he meet on social media. He even went into the same classroom as a teacher busted for kiddie porn.

      • TruthBeTold

        I looked at 6 articles and none of them said he was a R or a D.

        This also the first I heard of this.

        AR doesn’t concern itself with gay politics. I don’t know about cofcc.

        • 1stworlder

          Its still rape, and the fact that leftists are actually reversing their regular blame the adult rapist for this guy tells us he is one of them. If you saw the articles you saw the part about how he went into a school for lectures that had the principle busted for kiddie pawn.
          When the PA mayor that was part of Bloomberg’s anti gun group raped an underage boy at gunpoint all the conservative sites covered it.

  • That said, I wonder why the people that want some sort of amnesty bill are so anxious for it. Birthright citizenship combined with immigration law becoming a dead letter combined with non-enforcement has the same result.

  • So CAL Snowman

    ““Public school districts have an obligation to enroll students
    regardless of immigration status and without discrimination on the basis
    of race, color or national origin,” Attorney General Eric Holder said
    in a statement. “The Justice Department will do everything it can to
    make sure schools meet this obligation. We will vigilantly enforce the
    law to ensure the schoolhouse door remains open to all.””

    And some people still think America is a country defined by national borders.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      In 1982 in a 5-to-4 decision (Plyler v. Doe), the Supreme legislative body ruled that Texas could not deny children illegally in the U. S. a tax-payer-funded K-12 education.

      Plyler v. Doe is one of many Supreme Court decisions that have all but destroyed this once great nation

      5-to-4! It’s one reason presidential elections matter. Democrat-appointed judges tend to be quite different in philosophy than Republican-appointed judges.

    • DudeWheresMyCountry?

      I’m not sure anyone thinks that any longer. The people that care know that ship has sailed. But again, this is a fake country as we all know. Just an example of Mexican privilege is all this is.

    • DonReynolds

      Maybe you did not get the memo…..but Eric Holder changed the spelling of the Justice Department to the Just-Us Department.

  • dd121

    On TV news a few years back here in Colorado were illegal high school seniors. They were whining to get instate college tuition. They spoke up because they knew they wouldn’t be deported. If we would immediately deport all who are here illegally and flaunt our laws, we might start to get our country back. I would have no problem showing them the “welcome to Mexico” sign.

    • RisingReich

      That’s exactly the right attitude. All the illegals in one place? Perfect time to round them up and expel them.

      • DonReynolds

        Particularly when they parade down the street, waving Mexican flags, and carrying signs that claim this country is part of Mexico.

  • JohnEngelman

    Enrollment in public schools is an excellent opportunity to identify and deport illegal immigrants.

    • RisingReich

      The first sane thing you’ve written since you came back.

      • JohnEngelman

        Not really.

  • Truthseeker

    When descendents of the third world take over your country, rule of law goes out the window.

    • DonReynolds

      The Liberals and Communists in this country are hell-bent on doing away with the Rule of Law. Do they not realize that is the only thing that keeps them alive? Without the Rule of Law, it would be open season and no bag limit.

  • As soon as the squat monsters are in, I guarantee they act up. Viking B tells the story on her blog of how her little boy was enrolled in public school first grade and a “Mexi****” spit on him, but the school wouldn’t do a thing about it. If the schools were willing to expel the squat monsters, many of them would be gone in a day for discipline problems. Homeschool, like VB.

    • 1stworlder

      what is Viking B’s blog?

      • Look up on a search engine: viking b*tch’s blog, replacing the * with the correct letter of the alphabet. She used to post here, but now blogs instead. Full blown white nationalist (WN) and more. She has lots of stories about her personal encounters with diversity.

  • JSS

    “We will vigilantly enforce the law to ensure the schoolhouse door remains open to all.”

    So you will vigilantly enforce the law to ensure no law breakers are left with out access to the tax payers money? Take note White people, the law in Amurrika is designed to fleece you and make life a living nightmare for your children.

    • So CAL Snowman

      This is a perfect example of what Sam Francis called ‘Anarcho – tyranny.” The government REFUSES to enforce our immigration laws and allows tens millions of illegal alien invaders to take up residence in the Former United States. That is the anarchy part. Then the government FORCES the law abiding and tax paying White citizens to pay for the education of the illegal alien invader’s offspring. That is the tyranny part.

    • Greg Thomas

      They will enforce a law which allows squat invaders an education, all while ignoring our immigration laws which mandates the same invaders be deported. Picking and choosing which laws to enforce is this administration’s MO.

      • DonReynolds

        Without the Rule of Law, only Tyranny remains.

  • Alexandra1973

    I say any school that welcomes illegals, pull your kids out of it, one way or another. Here in Ohio, you can send your child to a different school district (I believe there was an article here concerning the hand-wringing over this).

    As far as I know the schools around here don’t permit illegals.

    • Juggernaut3000

      All government schools are mandated by law to accept illegal immigrants. SCOTUS settled that in 1982 with Plyler v. Doe, that schools must accept illegal aliens.

      • Alexandra1973

        Well, they must not have gotten the memo over here. Not that I mind.

        • GeneticsareDestiny

          That’s probably because Ohio doesn’t have a ton of illegal immigrants. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, they’re only 0.9% of your state’s population. Thus, school officials don’t have to worry too much about these laws; virtually all of their students are legal and will have those documents.

          These laws matter a lot in Texas, California, and other states with massive illegal populations, though. I doubt a school in any of those states would dare to ask for that information for fear of being accused of “discrimination” or “racism”.

        • evilsandmich

          Yeah for some reason these ‘illegal stories’ seem far away from the northern half of the state especially. Lots of Puerto Ricans though to chase them off I suppose (PRs don’t seem to be big fans of other Hispanics moving in on their gig).
          The southern half is a different story with farmers and lower skilled manufacturing attracting all kinds of riff-raff; though low key raids seem to keep the problem somewhat in check.

    • curri

      No doubt they guessed you weren’t “undocumented” and would comply . Public schools have been required by SCOTUS to accept illegal aliens for about thirty years.

    • DonReynolds

      You could be surprised. I know I was, when I first moved to Texas. I asked specifically if the local schools had many illegal aliens and was told it was only 5% of the student body. On the first day of school, I went to pick up my kids and it was more like 50%! So I went back to the school superintendent’s office to get the matter clarified. He said, after the illegal aliens have been in US schools for two years, they are no longer counted as Mexican. Yes, it was very disappointing.

  • Ed

    They’re worried a case could work its way before the Court and Plyler v. Doe gets tossed out.

  • Juggernaut3000

    I can’t imagine that schools would want to exclude illegal immigrants, each one brings in money from the feds. You can expect YOUR property taxes to go up to pay for it.

    In Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix, they’d have to close down the entire school district if illegal foreign nationals were barred from schools.

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      Not necessarily. Illegals have lots of anchor babies while they’re here, so even if their children born in the home country couldn’t go to school, there’d still be plenty of little “Americans” to fill the seats.

      Some individual schools would have to close, but not whole districts. However, if we stopped allowing the children of illegals born in America to be citizens…then it’d be another story.

      • DonReynolds

        By my own experience, the problem has been a massive influx of illegal aliens requiring local school districts to build new school buildings and hire more teachers. When the extra taxes get on the ballot, the voters kick it as far as they can.

        • GeneticsareDestiny

          Good to hear. I’m glad the taxpayers in your area aren’t bowing to liberal whining about how the taxes are “for the children!!”

    • DonReynolds

      Fine by me. If the school district only serves illegal aliens. Shut it down entirely. Then my property taxes would go down.

  • RisingReich

    Jesus – when I went to public elementary school the administration was OBSESSED with obtaining proof my family lived within the SCHOOL DISTRICT, let alone being an illegal squatting scumbag.

    • Greg Thomas

      That’s because you are White. I highly doubt illegal invading mexicans are subjected to similiar scrutiny. I’m sure a water bill will suffice for them.

      • DonReynolds

        …..and there is no reason to suppose that the water bill is actually their own water bill……or that the family in question actually lives there……or that they can be identified by that name. This is the insanity.

    • The school district you went to was probably one that was desirable. The ones where Hispanic illegals go to probably aren’t that desirable.

    • kikz2

      hell, to be a parent and gain access to your kids’ campus here n. of dallas, you must furnish picture ID and be ‘badged’ every time you come and go, or you don’t get in. want to be room mom for your kindergartener, or attend field trips w/your kid? you must a pass a background check with the local PD. i do remember over the years, many pages of paperwork at years’ beginnings inquiring if one is (a migrant/seasonal farm worker)? how-tf can they establish proof of residency?????

    • Sick of it

      That hasn’t changed – For white kids.

  • IstvanIN

    Know what is funny is I had to provide a birth certificate for my daughter when I enrolled her in kindergarten. I don’t recall flinching over that. Of course that was back when this was still America.

  • mobilebay

    We’ve got to be the biggest fools in the world. We welcome every lawbreaker on the planet and that sewer south of the border is holding a US Marine, chained to the bed, in one of their slimy prisons and no one is doing anything about it.

    • IstvanIN

      Where a street walker of a nation and the world is our violent, thug pimp.

  • DudeWheresMyCountry?

    If I was enrolling a kid in public school (I wouldn’t) but if I did I would refuse to provide any ID or SSN. When they complain I would say prove to me every student has done the same first.

  • WR_the_realist

    The federal government is the enemy not only of white people, but of the United States of America itself.

  • willbest

    If you can’t ask for a birth certificate how do you know how old the child is so that you can place them in the appropriate class?

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      You can’t. There’ll probably be adult illegals enrolling as “high school students” by lying and saying they’re under 18, so they can get an American high school diploma instead of a GED.

      • evilsandmich

        Vietnamese refugees pulled this stunt all the time. Pretty sure one of the guys my junior year of high school was in his early twenties.

    • DonReynolds

      You know the answer…..the “truth” is whatever they say it is….no proof required. I do not doubt there are a number of underaged illegal aliens enrolled in kindergarten to take advantage of the free babysitting service and the free chow.

  • Rhialto

    Finally Prez. Obama commits an act that deserves impeachment and removal from office: He is ordering his administration to conspire, aid, and abet breaking state laws. There is no response from the Repub establishment;

    I guess the Repubs are too busy with Ben Ghayzi.

    • evilsandmich

      I think that Benghazi is a big deal, but yeah it pales in comparison to stuff like this or that land grab going on out west or the total lack of enforcement of the borders, etc. It does seem like the picked the one scandal that they new wouldn’t offend any PC zealot’s delicate sensibilities.

  • evilsandmich

    Ignore the feds, kick any enforcers out of your state; or at least threaten to do so. Uncle Sam, especially under Obama, has a glass jaw and will fold at any push back.

    • DonReynolds

      That is a great looking kitty.

  • Urbane Neanderthal

    If we’re not going to send them home, we might as well educate them instead of guaranteeing they won’t be productive contributors to society.

    Obviously I think we should deport them all after they pay a stiff fine or work 2-5 years of hard labor to pay for their crime and deter future illegal immigration, but realistically that is unlikely to happen.

  • saxonsun

    The original articles were bursting with comments expressing rage against the gov’t and the illegals.

  • DucLap

    “All children have a right to enroll in public schools regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.”

    This is the Livin’ End, baby! Big Fed is now the boss of ALL things and Supreme Court of the United States with back that contention up with law and force.

  • DonReynolds

    Katzerman….”It doesn’t create an inclusive, welcoming environment.”
    That would be honest and transparent.
    They are not welcome.
    They are invaders demanding services provided by taxpayers.
    And no, we are not inclusive when it comes to criminal invaders.

  • kikz2

    obligation……….preposterous… foisted upon the taxpayers to support any and all who happen to live in their district…. even if they’re there illegally…… exactly what DonReynolds sez below……. demanding services provided by taxpayers.

  • DonReynolds

    If they do not like it here, why do they insist on coming here, even if they have to break the law to do it?