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April 03, 2017

Democrats Push Trump Administration to Protect the Education of Undocumented Children

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Conyers (D-MI), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the Ranking Members of the Committees on Education and the Workforce, Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, respectively, sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly asking them to remind public schools that they are still required to educate undocumented children, despite recent changes to immigration policies.

“We write to express concern that recent changes in immigration enforcement policies are creating fear, anxiety and confusion in immigrant communities around the country,” the Members wrote.In this environment of trepidation, it is important that we do all we can to minimize the impact these policies have on public school attendance and student learning. One way to address this concern is to ensure that school enrollment and attendance practices do not chill school participation based on the students’ or their parent’s immigration status.”

To assuage increasing apprehensions, we request that the Department of Homeland Security issue a statement making clear that, in spite of other changes in enforcement policy, the sensitive locations policy remains in full effect, at schools and other localities,” the letter reads.Fear of immigration enforcement actions cannot be allowed to create a hostile learning environment for our children.”

In the Plyler v. Doe decision, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny any child, including an undocumented child, access to a public education.  A student’s immigration status was irrelevant to the student’s right to access a public elementary and secondary education.

Full text of the letter can be found here.

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978