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SPLC statement on DeVos’ suggestion that schools can report undocumented students to ICE

The SPLC strongly opposes the suggestion this week by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that schools can report undocumented students to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

Not only does DeVos’ suggestion conflict with settled law, it also fundamentally undermines the promise of our schools as a place where all students can thrive.

All children have the right to enroll in public schools, regardless of their immigration status. The Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe, affirming the right of immigrant children to participate in public education, has been the law of the land for over 35 years. Under that precedent and under our nation’s civil rights laws, schools cannot be in the business of immigration enforcement or discrimination. 

When Alabama tried to intimidate immigrant families away from enrolling their children in school by seeking information about the immigration status of children and parents, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rightly struck down that law.

Practices that chill immigrant students’ access to school are unconstitutional. The SPLC will continue to advocate for the right of all students, no matter their background, to enroll in public school.

Click here for more about our advocacy on behalf of immigrant students in Florida.