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Re: Helping Out.

  • Date Submitted: 12/15/2010 01:59 PM
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Public Education and Student Immigration Law
I. Introduction
In the wake of September 11, 2001, school districts across the nation are struggling with the fallout from the highly charged national debate on the issue of immigration reform. Prior to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many foreign nationals would enter the United States on a B-2 visa, which allows individuals to enter the U.S. for an extended period of time for the purposes of visiting with friends, family or touring the country, only to later apply to change his or her visa status to that of a student. The old policy allowed the applicant to remain in the U.S. and take classes while his or her student visa application was pending. However, when it came to light that many of the 9/11 hijackers had entered the U.S. on B-2 visas and attended flight school while their student visa applications were pending, immigration laws were quickly amended. As a result, foreign born visitors admitted to the U.S. under B-2 visas are prohibited from taking classes at any public school or vocational school until their change in visa application has been approved. Due to the travesties of 9/11, discussions have once again emerged among the nation’s lawmakers on the issue of allowing states to deny public education to alien students altogether. Naturally, these discussions may cause school districts some confusion on how to properly handle such matters. Student immigration laws can be complex and seemingly inconsistent in their application. It is important for school districts to be aware of the protections afforded to both legal and illegal alien students and to be aware of the significant legal and educational distinctions between those protections. This advisory serves as an overview of the applicable, and at times very confusing, laws concerning the responsibility for educating legal and illegal alien children.

II. Schools and Illegal Aliens - (i.e., Students whose Documented Status is Unknown)
In 1982, in...


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