Rights and Services for Undocumented Children and Children of Undocumented Immigrants

Adopted January 1994 – Revised February 2018 – Health & Community Concerns Commission

California State PTA recognizes that the United States has a long history of immigrants coming to this country in search of a better life for themselves and their families and that the resulting blend of cultures enriches our nation.

California State PTA believes that all children who reside in California, regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents’, have the right of access to a quality public education, adequate food and shelter, and basic health services. California State PTA also believes the congressional and executive branches of the United States Government must bear full responsibility for federal immigration policies and the resulting fiscal impact on the states.

California State PTA further believes that it is in the interest of all Californians to ensure that all children, regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents’, have the opportunity to reach their full potential and become productive members of society. Access to a free public education is the most effective method of securing this opportunity, and should not be denied to any child. In fact, the Supreme Court of the United State concluded in Plyler v. Doe (1982) that undocumented school-aged children are entitled to have access to a high quality and free public K-12 education.

California State PTA believes that undocumented school age children must not be constructively denied a free education through coercion, illegal data collection, profiling or interference via threats of deportation. To allow such would be a foreclosure upon their future contributions to our society.

Public school are institutions of learning and are not collection points, therefore public school should not be placed in the position of determining the legal status of immigrant children nor be required to enforce immigration laws. Furthermore, school district should not voluntarily report undocumented students to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other immigration authorities because such actions may constitute a denial of access to education under Plyer. The Immigration and Naturalization Service is the federal agency with jurisdiction over federal immigration policy and should bear full responsibility for enforcing that policy.

Schools should be defined in statute as “sensitive locations” and Immigration and ICE officers and agents are to refrain from enforcement actions against students in schools including preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities, and other institutions of learning, such as vocational and trade schools.

California State PTA supports the confidentiality of school records, including records that pertain to the immigration status of children. Unrestrained access to school records to determine such status can pose a threat of unintended consequences due to any materials in a student’s file that may be inaccurate. California State PTA supports the maintenance of official school records, electronic otherwise, to the extent required by the state and school district for educational purposes only.

California State PTA supports federal child nutrition programs, including school meals, that offer all children, regardless of immigration status, an important benefit that fights hunger and enhances children’s physical, academic, and emotional growth.

California State PTA believes that federal, state, and local entities have a responsibility to contribute to the well-being of children by offering health care and other social services needed in their areas. Denying these services to children, regardless of their citizenship status, can endanger communities and create serious health and social concerns.

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