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Requirements Keep Young Immigrants Out of Long Island Classrooms

Required by law to attend school, children are nevertheless stuck at home, despite unrelenting efforts by their parents and others to prove that they are eligible. Suffolk and Nassau Counties, on Long Island, rank third and fifth, respectively, in the United States, after counties centered on Houston and Los Angeles, in the number of unaccompanied minors they have absorbed so far this year; Miami-Dade County is fourth.

Many of the children are barred because their families cannot gather the documents that schools require to prove they are residents of the district or have guardianship — obstacles that contravene legal guidance on enrollment procedures the State Education Department issued in September. Concern over similar deterrents across the country led Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in May to chide districts for “raising barriers for undocumented children,” in that way violating a 1982 Supreme Court decision that guarantees their right to an education.