Updated Federal Guidance for School Districts Emphasizes Equal Access to Public Schools Regardless of Immigration Status

May 8, 2014 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education today released updated guidance for school districts designed to ensure that they provide equal educational opportunities to all children, regardless of immigration status. The guidance comes in response to continued reports of discriminatory enrollment practices across the country that unlawfully probe into the immigration status of students and their families.

The guidance instructs school districts that they may not require certain documents – such as a parent’s state-issued identification card or driver’s license – where such a requirement would prevent a student from enrolling because of the parent’s immigration status.

Joanne Lin, ACLU legislative counsel, had this reaction to the new guidance:

“Today’s updated guidance reaffirms the longstanding principle, established by the Supreme Court over 30 years ago, that all children living in our country have a right to equal access to public education. School districts must adhere to this guidance, and meet their constitutional obligations to ensure that no child is locked outside the schoolhouse door.”

The letter from the DOJ and DOE to public school districts is available at:

A fact sheet from the DOJ and DOE on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School is available at:

Attorney General Holder’s Remarks are available at:

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