Tuesday 29 August 2023

New York Threatens To Sue Schools If They Try To Block Migrant Students

 New York state officials are threatening to sue schools that block or even make it difficult for illegal immigrant children trying to register for public school.

Attorney General Letitia James and state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa made the legal threat after they said they found “discriminatory” enrollment policies in some districts, such as requiring a voter ID from parents.

“Policies that make it difficult or impossible for migrant children and youth to enroll in school are contrary to state education regulations and may expose schools to legal liability,” James and Rosa wrote in a Monday letter to public school districts.

Some districts had been requiring parents to provide voter registration cards, which an illegal immigrant would not be able to obtain, the two said.

Other problematic policies included requiring proofs of residency less than 30 days old or repeated proofs of residency for families without a formal lease. The state also took issue with school districts threatening home visits for students who cannot prove their residency with a formal lease, or threatening to report information about students’ living conditions.

“These discriminatory policies harm our most vulnerable students, who rely on our schools for a safe, nurturing environment where they can learn and thrive,” James and Rosa said in their letter.

The letter warned all New York school districts with such policies to “immediately remove them from their websites and to cease enforcing them.”

Public schools must immediately enroll migrant children and homeless children even if those students cannot prove their residency or provide their immunization records, school records, or other documents usually required for enrollment, the state said.

All children between ages 5 and 21, including migrant children, are entitled to a public school education in New York.

Close to 19,000 kids in temporary housing, the vast majority of whom are migrants, are currently enrolled in the city’s public school system.

New York’s public school system has said it will depend on a new program launched last year called Project Open Arms, which involves more than 3,000 teachers for English as a second language and nearly 2,000 bilingual instructors.

Since April of last year, more than 100,000 migrants have arrived in New York City. As of last month, about 55,000 are still being housed on the city’s dime, causing New York’s homeless shelters to hit capacity.

The city has already poured $1.2 billion into helping the migrants since last summer.

The crisis appears to have flustered New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), who has blamed everyone, including Texas, the White House, and New York’s state government for sticking the city with the emergency.

Last week, Governor Kathy Hochul (D) shifted her tone toward the White House on the migrant crisis, pressing President Biden to speed up work authorizations for the migrants flooding the city’s shelters.

Up to that point, New York’s governor had refrained from directly criticizing the Biden administration over the crisis.

“We’ve managed thus far without substantive support from Washington,” Hochul said, but “New York has shouldered this burden for far too long.”

Hochul said the White House has not responded to her requests for expedited migrant work permits or for using more federal properties as emergency shelters.

“There does not appear to be a solution to this federal problem any time soon. This crisis originated with the federal government, and it must be resolved through the federal government,” the governor said.

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