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Department of Justice reminds elementary and secondary schools about the law concerning immigrant and homeless children.

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The Department of Justice had to once again put out a press release directed at elementary and secondary schools concerning¬†“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.” ¬†This also applies to homeless children.

Additionally, the United States Supreme Court held in the case of Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982), that a State may not deny access to a basic public education to any child residing in the State, whether present in the United States legally or otherwise. Denying “innocent children” access to a public education, the Court explained, “imposes a lifetime hardship on a discrete class of children not accountable for their disabling status. . . . By denying these children a basic education, we deny them the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation.” Plyler, 457 U.S. at 223. As Plyler makes clear, the undocumented or non-citizen status of a student (or his or her parent or guardian) is irrelevant to that student’s entitlement to an elementary and secondary public education.

You can read the full press release here at the Department of Justice web site.