- United States
The requirement to reveal the immigration status of parents of students wishing to enroll in after school programs in D.C. Public schools is raising many concerns among the local Latino community. The activists in Latino community in the District of Columbia said such requirements were hindering academic prospects of immigrant children. The requirement is being treated by onlookers as a political hazard in this time, when the government and the US immigration department are already going through a lot on this issue.
The news issued by the office of D.C Mayor Gray focused on the queries that the students had to go through to register for after school programs in the district. The news titled ‘Citizenship Requirements for DCPS Afterschool Programs’ was released by the D.C Office on Latino Affairs. The city administration has called on the local Public schools to comply to this requirement, which is the first of its kind for the city this year. The requirement raised many eyebrows in the Latino community among activists, who took it as an indirect offense against immigrants.
When the issue started gaining negative response, the officials of the city administration defended the rule saying that it was necessary and they were only complying with the requirements of $6.8 million federal grant that was covering most of the D.C public schools’ after school programs’ costs.
The officials said that the US Congress made it mandatory for the grant administration to verify that the federal funds only benefit citizens and legal immigrants and no benefit from these funds must go to undocumented immigrants. They said that the District has to abide by these conditions up to the last words in order to remove the title of “high-risk” grantee from its name.
In this case, the grant for after school programs from Public schools in D.C must abide by the rules of the congress. Despite the fact that there are no such provisions in the law to bar illegal immigrants from Public schools, the federal authorities are treating after school programs from Public schools as a different thing.
In a follow up release, though, the city officials assured the people that they do not intend to stop illegal immigrant students from after school programs if they are unable to verify their documentation and/or citizenship. They said that this is possible as local tax fund will cover the costs of their after school programs and not federal grants, on which Congressional rules apply.
The situation in the District did, although, gain somewhat little attention from other regions in the country due to its timing, as President Obama’s new deferred deportation program for young illegal immigrants just kicked off on Wednesday August 15th, 2012. Thousands of young and eligible illegal immigrants living in the country will be allowed 2 year extension from deportation and temporary allowance to stay in the country by the US Department of Homeland Security. This way incident like this one in D.C will be less likely to occur as illegal immigrants will have nothing to fear.
Tags: District of Columbia Public Schools, President Obama’s deferred deportation program, undocumented immigrants, US Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration, young illegal immigrants