Assembly Approves Bill To Remind Schools Of Requirement To Enroll Students Regardless Of Immigration Status

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TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Ruben J. Ramos Jr., Annette Quijano, Marlene Caride and Gabriela Mosquera to require the state to biannually distribute a letter to school districts reminding them of the requirement to enroll resident students regardless of immigration status was approved 64-13 Thursday by the Assembly.

The bill (A-718) is based on a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that held that undocumented children living in the United States could not be excluded from public elementary and secondary schools based upon their immigration status.

“These children were entitled to an appropriate public education,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “We’re talking about children who have no control over their immigration status, and we should want them to be enrolled in school and properly educated so they can become productive members of our society. When you think about it, this is just common sense.”

“It’s important to regularly remind school districts that a child’s immigration status does not affect his eligibility to attend public school,” said Quijano (D-Union). “We are rightly committed in New Jersey to educating each and every child, and this bill simply reminds everyone of that goal.”

“Requiring the Department of Education to biannually distribute a letter to each school district reminding the district of the obligation to enroll resident students regardless of immigration status is the right thing to do for children,” said Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This is about fairness and ensuring a better future for our state.”

Under the bill, the letter must be distributed by Aug. 1 and Dec. 30 of each school year and must include information on the documentation that may be requested pursuant to state board regulations to demonstrate a student’s eligibility for enrollment in the district.

The bill will be referred to the Senate for further consideration.

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