School personnel - especially principals and those involved with student registration and enrollment - should be aware that they have no legal obligation to enforce U.S. immigration laws.
This decision is vital because practices that deny or discourage immigrant children and families from public schooling do the following...
*...victimize innocent children - Children of undocumented workers do not choose the conditions under which they enter the United States. They should not be punished for circumstances they do not control. Children have the right to learn and be useful members of society.
*...hurt the country - Denying children access to education does not eliminate illegal immigration. Instead, it ensures the creation of an underclass. Without public education for children, illiteracy rates will increase and opportunities for workforce and community participation will decrease. Research has proven that for every $1 spent on the education of children, at least $9 is returned.
*...waste valuable time while losing sight of principal goals of public education - Rather than teaching students, school officials would spend their time asking our millions of school children about their citizenship status. States would be forced to spend millions of dollars to do the work of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
*...promote misinformation - Incorrect assumptions and inappropriate figures have been used to blame immigrants and their children for economic problems.
*...encourage racism and discrimination - In turbulent, financially troubled times, immigration often becomes a focal point of public discourse. A preoccupation with the immigration status of children of undocumented workers is a form of discrimination and racism.
As a result of the Plyler ruling, public schools may not:
- deny admission to a student during initial enrollment or at any other time on the basis of undocumented status;
- treat a student differently to determine residency;
- engage in any practices to "chill" the right of access to school;
- require students or parents to disclose or document their immigration status;
- make inquiries of students or parents intended to expose their undocumented status; or
- require social security numbers from all students, as this may expose undocumented status.