The children of deported adults could continue to go to school in California under a bill state lawmakers sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday.
State law currently requires students between the ages of 6 and 18 to attend public school in the district where their parent or legal guardian resides. If parents are deported, their children often follow.
Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, who introduced the bill, cites reports that show many U.S.-born children who move to Mexico to join their parents are not able to speak Spanish well enough to integrate into society or succeed in school. Lara, the son of undocumented parents, said he’s also heard reports of parents who make the difficult decision to leave their children in the U.S.
“These are U.S. citizen children and ensuring that they don’t fall through the cracks is important to me,” he said. “This is the first bill of its kind in the country.”
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Earlier this year President Donald Trump issued an executive order expanding U.S. deportation priorities beyond undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes to instruct federal agents to also target those suspected of crimes.
Senate Bill 257 allows children to continue to go to school in California if they lived in and went to public school in the state immediately prior to their parents’ departure and can provide evidence that their parent or parents were required to leave against their will. The bill also allows parents to pick an adult to attend school meetings and serve as an emergency contact for the child.
The Senate sent the bill to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk on Wednesday. The state Assembly passed the measure with a 47-7 vote earlier this week.