Does My Undocumented Immigrant Child Have the Right to Go to Public School?

Does My Undocumented Immigrant Child Have the Right to Go to Public School?

As far back as its 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe, the U.S. Supreme Court has found that all children are entitled to a free and appropriate public education while living in the U.S., regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. In practice, however, that doesn’t always happen. Some schools, particularly in some states, still turn away students or gently “discourage” students from enrolling in school. If your undocumented child is living in the U.S., you need to know your child’s rights to public education, and ensure that schools allow your child to both enroll and participate in school in a meaningful manner. A significant upswing in immigration enforcement has made many families more hesitant to enroll their children in school, fearing that they might call attention to themselves and their undocumented status. Complicated paperwork can delay a child’s enrollment, subjective determinations by school officials about residency requirements, and an inability to pass state tests all may contribute to a school’s unwillingness to enroll an undocumented student. Furthermore, in many jurisdictions, schools do not have the resources or capacity to provide the kind of specialized educational instruction that an undocumented child might need; in many cases, a lack of translation and interpretation services is enough to discourage families from enrolling their children in school at all. Other school districts fear that admitting undocumented students will decrease test score averages, and tend to steer these students into alternative educational programs, many of which are completely unsuitable for the children in these situations. Unfortunately, many schools will not provide you with the information and assistance that you may need to enroll your child in school, either directly or indirectly. It is up to you as a parent to insist that the school respect and accommodate your child’s right to a free and appropriate public education. If you feel unable to effectively communicate with your local school district, whether due to language or other barriers, you should seek out legal assistance or a community advocate to help you navigate the school requirements and stand up for your child’s educational rights. Given the current focus of the federal government on immigration enforcement, there may come a time in the near future when you and your family need help with various legal matters, including representation in deportation proceedings. The deportation defense lawyers of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., pride themselves on aggressively representing the interests of those immigrants who are facing potential deportation by American immigration authorities. Our goal is to gather evidence in your favor, build a strong case on your behalf, and develop a strategy that is best designed to help you remain in the United States and move on with your life. The earlier we can get started with your case, the more likely you are to prevail in your deportation proceedings. Don’t hesitate to contact us today and learn what we can do to assist you.
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