Nina Bernstein, via a Rick Kiley email:
Three decades after the Supreme Court ruled that immigration violations cannot be used as a basis to deny children equal access to a public school education, one in five school districts in New York State is routinely requiring a child’s immigration papers as a prerequisite to enrollment, or asking parents for information that only lawful immigrants can provide.
The New York Civil Liberties Union, which culled a list of 139 such districts from hundreds of registration forms and instructions posted online, has not found any children turned away for lack of immigration paperwork. But it warned in a letter to the state’s education commissioner on Wednesday that the requirements listed by many registrars, however free of discriminatory intent, “will inevitably discourage families from enrolling in school for fear that they would be reported to federal immigration authorities.”
For months, the group has been pushing the State Education Department to stop the practices, which range from what the advocates consider unintentional barriers, like requiring a Social Security number, to those the letter called “blatantly discriminatory,” like one demanding that noncitizen children show a “resident alien card,” with the warning that “if the card is expired, it will not be accepted.”
Local school enrollment policies have been in the news recently due to an accused murderer (and apparent illegal immigrant) using a false identity to enroll in the Madison West and Middleton High Schools.