NYCLU Study Says New York Schools Are Illegally Discriminating Against Immigrant Kids

Identification documents may be creating barriers for immigrant students.
Identification documents may be creating barriers for immigrant students.
Photo credit: biologycorner via Compfight cc

A survey conducted by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that many schools in the state demand information about the immigration status of enrolling students, a potential violation of federal law.

The group examined enrollment requirements for 20 percent of the state's schools, and found admissions officials asking about things like immigration status and demanding student birth certificates.

In the New York City area, 25 school districts were found demanding birth certificates for enrollment, a stipulation that can raise barriers for immigrant students; 13 districts asked for the student's date of entry into the U.S. In other parts of the state, six districts asked if the student being enrolled is a "migrant worker."

The numbers are virtually unchanged since 2010, when the NYCLU conducted a similar survey. Despite having had years to respond to the problem, the NYCLU says, the state's Education Department has done little to address it.

"All children have an equal right to a public school education, regardless of their immigration status," NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman says in a press release. "The NYCLU has presented data to the State Education Department for years showing that many districts across the state are discriminating against immigrant children and preventing them from enrolling in schools. It's shocking that the SED has not acted sooner or more decisively to guarantee the right of all New York children to an education."

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