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SCHOOL AND UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN

Undocumented children have an unquestioned right to attend public school, full time. In
1982, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a Constitutional right to a free public education in the
district where a child resides. A school district may not inquire at the time of enrolling as to the
student’s immigration status, and the school registrar may not inquire for the student’s social
security number. The school may not create the impression that immigration status information
may be used to bar a student from enrolling in school.
In New York, specifically the Education Department has instructed all districts to desist
from requesting resident alien cards when parents register their children in school such a request
could chill illegal aliens from registering their children for fear of their exposure.
New York State’s education laws require a free public school education for any one
residing in New York, ages 5 to 21, to study full time up to a high school diploma. Proving age
and residency may be shown in a way that does not expose immigration status such as a parent’s
utility or TV bill, or a rental lease of the parent or guardian, to prove residency or a passport to
prove the child’s age.
Although a school after enrollment may need to collect personal data of age and residency
in N.Y., all schools have been instructed to avoid any inquiry about immigration status. A birth
certificate or Baptismal certificate besides a passport or showing the date of birth is enough to
satisfy a school’s need for proof of age. Even if a child has entered as a non-
Undocumented children have an unquestioned right to attend public school, full time. In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a Constitutional right to a free public education in the district where a child resides. A school district may not inquire at the time of enrolling as to the student’s immigration status, and the school registrar may not inquire for the student’s social security number. The school may not create the impression that immigration status information may be used to bar a student from enrolling in school.In New York, specifically the Education Department has instructed all districts to desist from requesting resident alien cards when parents register their children in school such a request could chill illegal aliens from registering their children for fear of their exposure.New York State’s education laws require a free public school education for any one residing in New York, ages 5 to 21, to study full time up to a high school diploma. Proving age and residency may be shown in a way that does not expose immigration status such as a parent’s utility or TV bill, or a rental lease of the parent or guardian, to prove residency or a passport to prove the child’s age.Although a school after enrollment may need to collect personal data of age and residency in N.Y., all schools have been instructed to avoid any inquiry about immigration status. A birth certificate or Baptismal certificate besides a passport or showing the date of birth is enough to satisfy a school’s need for proof of age. Even if a child has entered as a non-immigrant, the school may not object to admission provided evidence of age and an residency in New York be shown. If the child does not live with a parent, it is enough to show that the guardian with whom the child is living has full responsibility for the child’s support and custody.
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New York, New York 10001

Phone: 212-944-9420
Fax: 212-944-9120
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