ACLU sues 12 NJ school districts over enrollment rules that could block undocumented immigrants

"We don't want to have to litigate this, but we are prepared to do so."

David Madden
July 27, 2018 - 12:29 pm
Classroom

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NEWARK, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Three Camden County school districts are among a dozen in New Jersey being hauled into court by the American Civil Liberties Union. At issue are policies that might block children who immigrated to the country illegally from getting an education.

The 12 districts are all accused of requiring parents to produce state-issued ID's as a condition to enroll a child, which the ACLU says is a violation of state law for one practical reason.

"It is impossible to get a driver's license or state ID without a social security number or a legal status," staff attorney Elyla Huertas said, and undocumented immigrants won't have those available to them.

New Jersey law requires all children, regardless of their immigration status, to be afforded a free public education.

Most of the districts involved are in North Jersey, but the suit includes Bellmawr, Winslow Township and Sterling Regional High School.

"We don't want to have to litigate this, but we are prepared to do so," Huertas added. "And back in 2016, each of the five lawsuits that we filed settled within a week. And because the law is so clear, we hope that happens again this time."

The attorney for Bellmawr and Winslow has declined comment, and there's no response from Sterling Regional.