« School Finance and the Courts | Main | Are We Too Competitive? »

Undocumented Students


Amid stepped-up federal enforcement of immigration laws, some school districts with large numbers of immigrant students are crafting new policies spelling out how they should relate to federal officials while also protecting student privacy and honoring children's entitlement to a free K-12 education in this country, regardless of their immigration status.

In Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., for example, new policies bar school personnel from putting information about a child's immigration status in school records or sharing it with outside agencies, including federal immigration authorities. Personnel are also told to deny any request from immigration officials to enter a school to search for information or seize students; school officials—with the help of lawyers—instead would determine whether to grant access.

What do you think? In the climate of increased enforcement of federal laws against illegal immigration, what policies should school districts have, if any, regarding undocumented students?


As a legal immigrant. I do not beleive that the schools have a duty to report the status of all people that are using tax money for schools. Illegal aliens should be reported government agencies are meant to protect Americans and LEGAL immigrants not the other way around.

We already have laws in place to protect our country from illegal immigrants. Like most other countries of the world, it is illegal to hire undocumented workers, but our citizens continue to disobey the law and our government agencies continue to turn a blind eye. Until we decide to enforce immigration laws, there isn't much we can do.

Schools should definitely NOT be involved in any aspect of immigration control. The last thing schools need is to be another scapegoat for one more social problem that needs to be addressed at a national level. We have enough laws to deal with the problem of illegal immigration, but are we willing to enforce them?

Schools are for education. Everything else is ancillary. Being a part of the "deporting" process is not the business of schools. Properly managing the internal school educational matrix, however, requires accurate identification of parts (stakeholders, etc.), and alignment of resources. Therefore, we should identify and provide for the needs of these children to the max and then bill their countries of legal residence for the services and resources that were required to do this work in a proper way. If they want to reduce the cost then they can go about the business of policing their own borders. Children, however, are not inanimate. We should provide for them to the best of our ability.

I agree with Dr. Buniak 100%. Tye idea of billing the countries of legal residence is novel, but why not try it. I teach at a middle school with about 10% of the student body Hispanic. The parents of these students are more cooperative and involved with school and the faculty than many of the American parents. It isn't my job as a teacher to question the students as to whether they are legal or not. My job is to provide them with an education. Many of the Hispanic students are bright and creative and able to keep up if not surpass the "regular" students.

I don't imagine schools reporting illegal students, definitely this is not their duty. On the other hand, all people have the right to education. Unfortunately some of our politicians do not think the same way since they are hindering the students rights to attend schools. For instance the state of Arizona.

Schools are not a part of the criminal justice system. It is not the job or the juridiction of a school or it's officials to enforce laws. If a teacher or school administrator suspects that a law is being broken, they should report the incident to proper authorities. The school's job is to insure that all students in attendance have adresses that are within the district. It is not the duty of the school to ensure that the adress given is a ;egal adress ior to make certain that the student actually lives there. If such a situation becomes evident, this is not a matter of confidentiality, and it may be reported, again to proper authorities. Illegal immigration is a crime and knowledge of a crime is not ppriviledged information for a school.
Schools should not hamper law enforcement from carrying out it's duties either. Schools should not be sanctuaries for criminals, nor should they provide sanctuary for law breakers.

I suspect our gov't can come back and deny our schools federal funds if they are denied access to our schools. They did it when we denied access to military recruiters.

Illegal aliens, regardless of where they come from, should not be entitled to "free education" or any other services in the United States. Government services and entitlements, including "free" education should be afforded only to citizens and legal entrants. The United States cannot afford to take care of the entire planet, and you do not want to set that kind of precedent. The electorate has the power to force this issue to a voters referendum and to force our government to cease this practice.

What a cop out argument "It's not my job..." Well, it's not my job either to pay the extra tax burden these ILLEGALS add to our system, but I have no choice. You are encouraging these criminals by helping them get another freebie that draws them here. It's not my job to report the person who just hit your car either but it's the right thing to do.

As an ESL teacher of a large population of hispanic immigrants - I find these families to be cohesive,and to have a low (or non exsistent) divorce rate.The stories these children tell me of crossing the border are unreal. These children also know at a tender age that they came to the US for a better life and the majority of them send money back to MExico. They take care of their extended family unlike our country who stick their elders in a nursing home.

Schools should absolutely allow search and seizure; and they should realize that they are putting others at risk by allowing people to “hide” in the system by not making public the illegal status of those registered at the school. A few respondents argued that reporting is not the school’s or the teacher’s job, but it is because schools are publicly funded. Schools have a duty to the public to make transparent who is registered.

I would not advocate adding the burden of reporting illegals, but schools do have reporting responsibilities. Teachers, often at their own peril, and school personnel are already mandated by law to report suspected child abuse. If a child is an illegal, they still have to report it even if it means causing problems for the illegal status family.

Finally, to be a legal immigrant in the United States is not a simple matter. It requires months and years of waiting for the USCIS, a lot of money for nonrefundable “processing fees,” and staying one step ahead of immigration policy to figure out what the next hoop is to jump through. One lost step and the legal immigrant can suddenly become an illegal without recourse and have to start the process all over again. Illegal immigrants are hurting not helping the process for legals and they don’t deserve a free ride.

I am surprised that schools should even have the option to decide if authorities can search for and arrest suspected illegal aliens. Perhaps a private school could ask for a warrant, but public schools are just that, "public". There is no, or should not be any assumed right to sanctuary on a public school campus.
Teachers and administrators that suspect illegal activity should report that activity, be it illegal drugs or aliens. Names, adresses and contact telephone numbers of suspected illegals, like those of regular citizens, are not priviledged information.
The laws are in place. They need to be enforced. Standing in the way of law enforcement is called obstruction of justice and it is a crime. There are many humanitarian reasons why an official may wish to hide or harbor an illegal alien, but the bottom line is that the law is being broken. Many a noble notion has lead teachers to hold off reporting drug use and gang activity, resulting in more problems than solutions. It is NOT the job of teachers and schools to enforce laws. It IS the job of all citizens to report criminal activity.

I was born in NY and raised in Argentina. My first language is Spanish. Seven years ago My husband and I decided to come back in surch of a better life the same as others. We had to pay a lot of money, and fillout paperwork and wait for over 1 year, so my 2 children and my husband could immigrate with a green card. Why shouldn't others go through the same?
Me and my family have learned to adjust and live the American way. We work hard and pay taxes. I believe those taxes should come back to those who respect the law. I feel sorry for them, because I know what they go through, but I believe that there should be much more immigration control to erase this kind of problems in schools.

The current state of immigration control allows for a certain number of legal undocumented workers to enter and legally work in the U.S. One major industry that takes advantage of this is lumber. Latino workers are used extensive,y for clearing forests and planting new trees, thorughout the U.S. These workers, called "pineros", as young as 15 and 16, work 10 to 12 hours a day in forest land and are put up in local motels for the night. They do not fall under the protection of child labor regulations and are not required to attend school as they fall outside of residency requirements.
This is exploitation, akin to a kind of slavery. Yes, they are paid, fed and housed to a certain extent, but they are used because of the advantge of inexpensive labor. This is a legal use of migrant workers that keeps a steady flow of the same coming to America for "opportunity".
The point is that it is difficult to recognize the legal from the illegal. There is no badge, or costume, or uniform. It is difficult to discern the actual illegal alien because there are so many exceptions. As I have said before, when one suspects there is a violation of law, the right thing to do is to report it.

Our union has sold us down the river in support of leftist ideology:

We are required to take, at our OWN expense, 90 hours -- over TWO WEEKS -- of unpaid work to meet the demands placed on us by illegal immigration. We call it, "Structured English Immersion." Why not sue the federal government for not enforcing the law, and MAKE them pay the tab and provide the teachers? Why not DEMAND that proof of citizenship be required for "free" (read, "Taxpayer provided") education? Who said that Arizona teachers should subsidize the low cost of labor in Arizona? Our union is failing us.

Because they want more Hispanic voters for the left, that's why.

Not a peep from them. Try making teachers in any other state take two weeks of their time to take a course they have to pay for -- I'd bet there WOULD be a fight.

Since when does educating children have anything to do with leftist ideology???? Since when does the teacher's union dictate whether U.S. Supreme Court decisions are implemented or not? I just wish the AZ teacher was as upset about ONE BILLION DOLLARS PER MONTH headed to Iraq for a total to date of 1/2 trillion dollars as he/she is about 90 hours of teacher training time. All the talk about immigration is the way to divert attention away from Iraq.....what a way to change the subject!! Seems to me that this is a RIGHT WING tactic to get people to support the neo conservative agendas.

I am a legal immigrant too. Although my ESL students are respectful and it certainly wasn't their fault that their parents broke the law, but come on, the school's purpose is to prepare productive citizens that obay the law. What an example if they are trying to find ways to break the law by hiding information from authorities?

I agree with the AZ teacher and not only are we as teachers being asked to spend our time and money (ours and the citizen taxpayers'), but our English speaking citizen students are shortchanged while we consentrate on the illigal students.

I notice that more responses are for supporting our immigration laws - Betty is herself just trying to 'change the subject'. When will the media and administrations listen to us.

There is obviously a lot of emotion tied to this subject, and with very good cause. It is more of a problem in certain border states and agricultural areas where migrant workers are the trend. No public school should be required to enroll or teach illegal immigrants. There should be and are supposed ot be safeguards in place to protect teachers and schools from this. Legal migrant workers that pay taxes and reside long enough in a district to send their children to a school are entitled to the same education as residents. Illegals, by virtue if entering the country illegally or overstaying a visa, are not entitled to a public education at taxpayers' expense. Unfortunaetly, there are few means in place for schools or school districts to determine the immigration status of students. Any child with an immunization record, an address, and a social security number, can enroll in a public school. At this time, the schools are not even empowered to check social security numbers against names. Schools can only act on reasonable suspicion and, according to three very different attorneys I have had this discussion with, speaking Spanish is not a cause for reasonable suspicion.

Bob, the parent and teacher is correct that speaking Spanish is not cause for reasonable suspicion, nor is the type of job a person has, nor their last name nor skin color. Migrant workers are not a trend, migrant workers have picked fruit, worked in packing houses and slaughter houses for decades. The 1982 United States Supreme Court decision, Plyer v. Doe prohibits schools from investigating status. There are many things taxpayers dollars should not be funding that draws no emotion at all. Taxpayers are feeling the crunch, and some prefer to use children as scapegoats. Some people are easily fooled by all the immigration rant and rave...just some.

The emotions drawn by this issue run deep and are real to those that express them, but Betty is right on balancing the expense that an ill conceived war (at the expense of emotions and pockets of all US residents -legal or not-) has placed on all of us. The issue goes beyond taxes, and illegal inmigrants by the way, pay taxes too... The issue goes at the heart of companies all over the world who exploit the people and workers of such countries, creating enormous economic unbalances that encourage inmigrants (from all over the world) to come to a land that still has a great deal of economic justice. For those that are not familiar with the injustices, poverty and ignorance that plague the majority of the world, I invite them to travel to a poor country or a poor neighborhood here or everywhere, compare and think on why their parents or ancestors came here, to the Americas, to begin with. I admire the people that can act like the ones in New Mexico... Right on!

When I first came to the US, I was surprised that the government provides illegal immigrants with so many services. What is legal and what is not just looses the definition. It is not legal for the parents to have a job without work permit but it is O.K. for the government to provide their children with medical, education and other services. I think that it may just give illegal immigrants encouragement to continue with their illegal staying. But since the government lets this happen for so many years taking any drastic actions now, like reporting undocumented students to immigration institutions, is not a right thing. The battle with illegal immigrants should not start at schools. Rights for those who have been here for many years’ should be discussed and the country borders should be strengthen to prevent further immigration.

Illegal Immigrants have too much entanglement with the US. Some illegal parents are here with there legal children, some illegal children are raising there legal siblings. Some minor illegal children are in child protective custody. Either way, we should care more about the law and not people..........send m all away.

Where does it say in our Consitution that illegal aliens have a right to our taxpayer funded education system. I'm tired being raped in taxes to fund a failing public education system that socializes and indoctrinates instead of educating U.S. children. Only the communists among you, (yes, I know you keep changing your titles as your purposes are uncovered) think that it is okay to take money from productive citizens to buy votes from nonproductive citizens. We have too much pandering to the lowest elements of our society while screwing those who follow the laws, despite the insanity of most of them. I bet all of you that want those votes agree with bussing school children so everyone can suffer from violence and underachievement but you can't understand sending illegal aliens back to their own countries. If you led by example I could at least respect your committment if not your lack of rationale. You send in extra tax money each April 15th. You put them in your houses and your schools. Until then you should just go to Cuba or China or Venezueala and experience the society you keep trying to bring down on the rest of us. We don't need a fence, we need to stop passing out the "free" education, healthcare, welare and voter registration cards that come with driver's licenses. If you all agree that we've let it go on so long to do anything logical about it than maybe we should just annex Mexico to about 10 miles from the Guatemalan border. Hell, we could dig a new canal down there so one of Jimmy Carter's biggest foreign policy blunders is minimized.


ndocmented people do better work and have more value thatn those kids that are born from hee. they want a better life they have seen the troubles at in eraly life so they want to live better and they know by education htey can. also undocumented peole do jobs that u.s.citizens dont do. or havnet you noticed.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • education should be for evryone!!!!: ndocmented people do better work and have more value thatn read more
  • Jovanny/ student that agrees with the issue of allowing undocumented a free education even after hig: ANY STUDENT WETHER THEY ARE LLEGAL OR NOT SHOULD BE read more
  • teej/retiredsoldier: Where does it say in our Consitution that illegal aliens read more
  • sal: Illegal Immigrants have too much entanglement with the US. Some read more
  • Kasia, Teacher Aide, Student: When I first came to the US, I was surprised read more




Technorati search

» Blogs that link here