Undocumented immigrants may want to send their children to school in order to ensure that their youngsters get an education, but a lack of birth certificates and other identification could signal that undocumented status to school officials and others. South Carolina and other states may face challenges in formulating compassionate strategies for dealing with the impact of undocumented students on their school systems. In Los Angeles, the school board has resolved to limit access for officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The school system is not completely blocking access to undocumented students, but it is requiring that an agent obtain permission from both the district lawyers and the superintendent first. Representatives of ICE indicate that schools and churches are considered to be locations in which cautions are exercised and that there is not a plan to target students. In spite of this, there are immigrants who express concern over their children going to school. San Francisco similarly requires a review prior to allowing ICE agents to enter schools.
There is a major concern for the well-being of children whose parents and other family members have been deported, and the Los Angeles school system will also spend several months focusing on a plan for providing information and helpful resources to those students affected by their undocumented status. Efforts may also be made to train educators and support staff to help families to understand their rights as immigrants because the stresses surrounding these issues can play a significant role in the educational success of students.
The naturalization process can be confusing for those who don't speak English, and families might rely on their children's education to help in understanding their rights and in completing essential paperwork during the application process. However, legal help may be important for ensuring that there are no misunderstandings in the timing and the requirements applicable to naturalization efforts.