With the attitude of “doors open to all children,” hundreds of schools across the country are currently welcoming large numbers of undocumented Central American youngsters living in hopes that an immigration judge will let them stay.
U.S. federal courts have established that states have an obligation to educate children regardless of their immigration status.
Jose Hernandez, 10, and his 16-year-old brother, Eber, are part of this wave of new students who only speak Spanish.
The brothers, natives of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, arrived in Southern California a month ago with their mother, fleeing from the threats and torture of street gangs.
Eber, who is now registered in school and says he doesn’t fear the challenge of learning English, told Efe that his dream is to be a lawyer.
John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, said that this city has been the first home for many immigrant families and that at least 1,000 new students from Central America have been welcomed with open arms for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Other school districts in the country have also seen an increase in the number of immigrant youths, following the avalanche of 60,000 unaccompanied Central American minors who have crossed the country’s southern border since October 2013 to escape the violence in their own countries.
But it’s not just public schools that are opening their doors to the Central American youngsters.
The Salvadoran Maryori Espinoza, 10, who risked everything to join her parents in the United States, was accepted into St. Patrick’s Catholic school in North Hollywood.
Maryori was excited about learning English and told Efe that she’s happy about receiving a scholarship.
“I’ll do everything in my power to get good grades and behave well, like I’ve always done,” she says.