“Any student that resides within El Paso county, it is our honor and our duty to educate them in our schools,” said EPISD spokeswoman Melissa Martinez. “It is against the law for any school district in the United States to ask for immigration status.”
School districts in El Paso county know they may have a number of illegal immigrants from Central America attending their schools this year, but there is no way of knowing how many.
That’s because federal law prohibits school districts in the United States from asking about a prospective student’s immigration status.
The law is a result of Plyler, Superintendent, Tyler Independent School District vs Department of Education. It was a class-action lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in 1977, when it was alleged that Mexican students would be denied access to Tyler ISD because they couldn’t prove they were legal American citizens. The District Court determined that illegal aliens were entitled to the protection of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and thus, cannot be asked about legal status.
The El Paso Independent School District told KFOX14 because of that law, there is no way for the district to know how many illegal immigrants will be attending their schools this year.