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Latino Daily News

Wednesday May 11, 2011

Federal Authorities Warn School Districts: Do Not Ask Student, Parents About Immigration Status

Federal Authorities Warn School Districts: Do Not Ask Student, Parents About Immigration Status

Photo: Officials remind schools to not ask about a student's immigration status

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Public schools across the country are being warned by the federal government that they are not to ask their students about their immigration status, and are being reminded that all children must be educated regardless of status.

In the warning sent to Friday, the U.S. Justice and Education departments said, “Recently, we have become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. These practices contravene federal law.”

The letter also states that a school districts may not deny students enrollment to school if they or their parents choose not to provide their Social Security numbers.

In Georgia, however, lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would counter these warnings with bills like HB 296, which failed to even make it out of committee earlier this year.

Despite HB 296 being shot down, the state’s lawmakers are still planning to push it next year. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Josh Clark (R-Buford), said, “As policymakers, we need to have an accurate tally of what it is costing the taxpayers as we educate those who are here illegally. We can then have our options whether we perhaps sue the federal government and say, ‘Hey, you know what. This is your responsibility. This burden should not be on the backs of Georgia citizens, who are playing by the rules.’ “