Those of you who have been following the plight of foreign students in New Jersey and elsewhere might be interested in knowing that the Department of Education and Department of Justice jointly issued a letter on May 6, 2011, addressing children’s rights to elementary and secondary education, regardless of immigration status. Coined a “Dear Colleague Letter,” the statement reminds schools that under federal law, state and local agencies are required to provide children with education through secondary school, and that any policies that discourage a child’s enrollment due to immigration concerns or issues “contravene” Federal law. Under our federal laws as well as caselaw, the immigration status of a student–or his/her parents(s)–at the elementary and secondary levels is simply irrelevant. At a time like this, when some college universities are caving into pressure from anti-immigrant groups, this is a much welcome pronouncement from the government, and hopefully a harbinger of more things to come from President Obama on immigration. Although the letter does not necessarily apply to foreign students and college level education (and whether they ought to be charged in-state tuition), it will hopefully embolden and inspire schools on the fence to take a more progressive stance on education for foreign students who only want to learn and ultimately contribute to this great country.From our Central Jersey Office in Edison, New Jersey, our firm handles a wide array of immigration issues from citizenship to permanent residence to deportation defense. If you or someone you know is in need of immigration legal assistance, please contact our office at (732) 516-1717.
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