New York AG Investigation Into School District Enrollment Barriers for Immigrant Children

Beginning in 2014, the New York Attorney General's office, in conjunction with the state's Department of Education, conducted a joint review of over twenty school district’s policies and procedures for enrolling undocumented students.  The investigation began as a result of reports and complaints to the attorney general’s office regarding unlawful inquiries into students’ and/or parents’ immigration status. The investigation determined that twenty school districts throughout the state had violated the law, by requiring information which would likely hinder or effect enrollment of undocumented students, in violation of the U.S Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe.  The investigation also found that school districts diverted students with limited English proficiency into alternative programs that provided English as a Second Language classes, or provided minimal preparation for the high school equivalency exam, but could not result in a high school diploma. As a result of the investigation, school districts entered into assurances of discontinuance with the attorney general, agreeing to amend enrollment materials by removing any “inquiries into citizenship, immigration status, or any other inquiries that might chill or discourage student enrollment on the basis of immigration status.”