There is a lot of uncertainty right now about national immigration policy. On January 30th, the NYC Department of Education sent home a letter from Chancellor Fariña affirming the city’s commitment to protecting the rights of students.
Among other commitments, the DOE spells out that its longstanding policy is to neither ask about nor keep a record of the immigration status of a student or their family. While children with IEPs may have their national origin or when they moved noted as part of their original or updated social histories, no information about their immigration status—even if voluntarily disclosed to a social worker or evaluator—should appear in the social history, IEP, or any other document.
The DOE has also promised not to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials access to schools without first demonstrating proper legal authority for being there. This stops short of noncooperation, as some advocates quoted in Chalkbeat would prefer.
The 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision Plyler v. Doe guarantees that all children have a right to an elementary and secondary education, regardless of immigration status. New York City is going one step further, and the DOE is referring families who need free immigration assistance to ActionNYC.