Updated Federal Guidance for School Districts Emphasizes Equal Access to Public Schools Regardless of Immigration Status

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Rachel Nusbaum, 202-417-7547; dcmedia@aclu.org

Updated Federal Guidance for School Districts Emphasizes Equal Access to Public Schools Regardless of Immigration Status

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education today released updated guidance for school districts designed to ensure that they provide equal educational opportunities to all children, regardless of immigration status. The guidance comes in response to continued reports of discriminatory enrollment practices across the country that unlawfully probe into the immigration status of students and their families.

The guidance instructs school districts that they may not require certain documents – such as a parent’s state-issued identification card or driver’s license – where such a requirement would prevent a student from enrolling because of the parent’s immigration status.

Joanne Lin, ACLU legislative counsel, had this reaction to the new guidance:

“Today's updated guidance reaffirms the longstanding principle, established by the Supreme Court over 30 years ago, that all children living in our country have a right to equal access to public education. School districts must adhere to this guidance, and meet their constitutional obligations to ensure that no child is locked outside the schoolhouse door.”

The letter from the DOJ and DOE to public school districts is available at:
justice.gov/crt/about/edu/documents/plylerletter.pdf

A fact sheet from the DOJ and DOE on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School is available at:
justice.gov/crt/about/edu/documents/plylerfact.pdf

Attorney General Holder’s Remarks are available at:
justice.gov/iso/opa/ag/speeches/2014/ag-speech-140508.html

This statement is available at:
aclu.org/immigrants-rights/updated-federal-guidance-school-districts-emphasizes-equal-access-public-schools

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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