School districts may feel significant impacts in the coming year resulting from the influx of Central American children to our country and schools. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) and its Council of School Attorneys (COSA) along with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) can all help.
In addition to the many legal resources on immigration issues available to COSA members, COSA will be offering a webinar August 13, 2014 at 1-2:15 p.m. EDT: “Immigration Issues and Public School Attendance: Registering and Serving Undocumented Students and Employer Compliance.”
In this webinar, experienced school attorney Wesley E. Johnson and immigration attorney Marcos Gemoets, who has represented immigration clients throughout Texas and the United States, including unaccompanied minors from Central and Latin America, will provide a checklist of immigration-related issues that may be raised in your district this school year. During the presentation, Johnson and Gemoets will cover issues such as undocumented students’ rights, employer requirements, and how to prepare for enforcement activity by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The presenters also will provide a “what to do if” resource for school administrators featuring several immigration-related scenarios. Registration is now open.
In light of the new federal guidance issued with regard to the recent influx of undocumented, unaccompanied minors NSBA will be re-releasing its electronic 2009 guide entitled “Legal Issues for School Districts Related to the Education of Undocumented Children (2009).”
The guide will contain new FAQs designed to help school board members and school administrators navigate the legal concerns raised by this new wave of undocumented immigrant students. The new FAQs will also provide a list to cross agency federal guidelines on this topic in an easy-to-access format.
ED has published new guidelines about which documents schools can and cannot require as proof of residency when children register for school. A “Dear Colleague” letter, published jointly by ED and the U.S. Department of Justice, announced the new guidelines. The new guidelines stipulate that schools can request documents such as leases or phone or utility bills to prove student residency but are prohibited from requiring Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, or original or U.S. birth certificates from parents or children, among other directives outlined in ED’s accompanying fact sheet.
ORR’s School Impact Program provides grants to state and state-alternative programs for activities that help impacted school districts integrate and educate school-age undocumented children.