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As Immigration Resurges, U.S. Public Schools Help Children Find Their Footing

As U.S. presidential candidates fight over the best way to address the influx of Central Americans across the Southwest border — with debate about building walls and deporting immigrants — the nation’s public schools have opened their doors, taking responsibility for helping tens of thousands of children find their footing here.

It’s not an easy task.

Many of the new arrivals don’t speak much English and are behind academically. They often come with scars, having fled desperate poverty or violence or both. Many endured difficult journeys, sometimes leaving their families behind or rejoining parents in the United States after years of separation. And U.S. schools, already strapped for resources, are trying to provide special services, including ­English-language instruction and mental-health care.