School Districts Are Prohibited From Requesting Proof of Student’s Immigration Status


The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued a memorandum cautioning school districts against requesting proof of immigration status when enrolling students.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter, OCR noted that it has become aware of “student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status.” Such practices are illegal under Titles IV and VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin by public schools. Further, the Supreme Court, in the case of Plyler v. Doe, held that the undocumented or non-citizen status of a student (or his or her parent or guardian) is irrelevant to the student’s entitlement to public education.

In order to assist school districts in complying with their duty to provide all children with equal access to public education, regardless of citizenship and immigration status, OCR provided the following examples of permissible enrollment practices, as well as examples of information that cannot be used to deny enrollment.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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