Following the enactment in 2010 of Arizona’s racist law, SB 1070, the ACLU of Arizona began hearing from families who were deterred or discouraged from enrolling their children in public schools because of a parent’s or student’s immigration status.
Over the past decade, a time of rising anti-immigrant sentiment, discouraging public school enrollment by immigrant families has become a nationwide problem. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice warned schools that policies that prohibit or discourage children from enrolling in school because they or their parents/guardians are undocumented violate federal law.
San Luis High School, near Yuma, seems to have missed this warning. The school’s administration currently requires a parent or legal guardian to present an Arizona state-issued photo ID when enrolling a student.
This is problematic and unlawful.
In Arizona, state-issued IDs are available only to those who have federal immigration status. Even with immigration status, a state-issued ID can be difficult to obtain, such as for those experiencing homelessness. By making a state-issued ID an absolute requirement to enroll a student, San Luis High School is effectively shutting its doors to the most vulnerable student populations.
The Arizona Department of Education provides a list of more than 12 different documents a parent can provide to prove Arizona residency. There is no legal requirement that forces San Luis to ask only for a state-issued ID.
The Arizona Constitution guarantees Arizona children the right to a free K-12 education. San Luis’ policy effectively denies students this fundamental right.
A significant part of Yuma’s population is comprised of migrant farm workers. These families frequently travel from state to state. Due to constant housing changes, children of migrant workers are protected by the McKinney-Vento Act. The McKinney-Vento act requires that children who lack a fixed living space be immediately allowed to enroll in school. San Luis’ current policy encourages the school to turn away these students.
San Luis’ current enrollment policy violates the rights of children whose parents are undocumented, children experiencing homelessness and unaccompanied immigrant youth by imposing a requirement that has no basis in the law.
This policy is unconstitutional, and it simply keeps deserving children from receving an education. We're demanding an end to it.
We recently sent a letter to the Yuma High School District urging them to immediately end San Luis High School’s unlawful pre-enrollment policy and protect a child’s right to an education. Read the letter here.
All children have a legal right to a public K-12 education. Period. Any school policy that requires students or students’ parents to provide schools with information regarding their immigration status violates the U.S. Constitution and the ACLU of Arizona will keep fighting to ensure that no child is unlawfully turned away from schoolhouse doors.
If you or your child has been denied enrollment to a school, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.