Many students in the United States often overlook the importance of education. However, for some, even becoming a student and attending school have posed a problem. According to the New York Times, dozens of Hispanic children who recently arrived from Central America have been barred from public school classes in Long Island, New York.
According to the Student Advocacy Center, free public education from kindergarten up until the age of 21 is guaranteed by law to immigrants and non-English speaking students. In addition, the U.S. has ruled that undocumented children have the same rights as U.S. citizens and permanent residents to receive a free public education.
However, according to News Day, in 2010, 139 school districts were found to have restrictive policies ranging from asking for birth certificates to requiring Social Security cards to asking about the child’s immigration and citizenship. While this information may be important to identify the child, the information should not be used to make enrollment decisions. If the lack of a formal guardianship is presented after, it still should not hinder the process of enrollment for a child who entered the U.S. as an unaccompanied minor.
Many children enter the U.S. for new opportunities and better lives than the ones they had been living before. America should not be known for raising barriers against undocumented immigrant children who just want to receive the public education they are entitled to have.
A child who resides in the U.S. should not be deprived of their rights because of their background. All children, regardless of their national origin, citizenship or immigration status, hold the right to have equal access to a public education and secondary education; and it is our job to make sure that every child gets this opportunity.