National Immigration Law Center
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Access to Education

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2014

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822, delatorre@nilc.org

Obama Administration Reaffirms Commitment to Education for All Students

Updated Guidance Will Help Ensure that Discriminatory Policies Don’t Close Schoolhouse Doors

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced updated guidance designed to ensure that children’s constitutional right to education is protected. The guidance makes clear that policies mandating that parents or children provide specific proof of identification or other documents that immigrants living in the United States without authorization may not have are not permissible for the country’s public school systems.

The National Immigration Law Center has long advocated for stronger guidance to help school administrators protect children’s access to education. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Today’s updated guidance provides much needed and long overdue clarity to ensure that all children, no matter where they (or their parents) were born, are able to enroll in and attend public schools. We applaud the Obama administration for stepping up efforts to prevent school districts from violating the spirit of Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court decision protecting this important right to a K-12 education.

“However, this guidance will be effective only if it is known by all school administrators and actually utilized. The Departments of Education and Justice must engage in all necessary outreach to prevent school districts from continuing troubling practices of adopting policies that serve only to close schoolhouse doors to children of immigrants.

“A quality education is the ultimate anti-poverty program. We will continue to work with parents, educators, and advocates across the country to fight for equal educational access for all children, and invest in our future.”

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