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Children May Enroll in School During Immigration Process

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on July 21, 2016

The children of parents who have started the immigration process may enroll in public or private school prior to the completion of the immigration proceedings. In the 1982 Plyer v. Doe case, the US Supreme Court ruled that children of both legal and undocumented immigrants have the right to an education regardless of their parent’s immigration status. The immigration system has changed considerably since then, however, students are still entitled to the same protections.

Protections Granted to Students of Immigrants

School districts are prohibited from asking questions regarding citizenship or immigration status of both unaccompanied minors and other children. The law allows school districts to establish residency within the district, but they cannot deny a student enrollment based on the status of their own or their parent’s immigration status.

School districts may require documentation showing the child’s age, proof of immunization, and educational background. It should be noted that this information is considered private and educational institutions are prohibited from sharing this information with immigration officials. This means that children regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents cannot be denied a public school education.

I-485 Supplement J and Job Offers

The same protections apply to children of immigrants who are changing their immigration status. Recently, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service has created opportunities for many immigrants to pursue new jobs and career opportunities.

As of January 17, immigrants are required to file Form I-485 Supplement J to request adjustments to their I-140 immigrant petition. The supplement allows immigrants to seek out similar or identical positions as those listed under the original I-140 petition. When considering the petition for a change of classification, the USCIS will determine whether the job duties and responsibilities, as well as the educational requirements, experience, and other requirements, are aligned with those of the original petition.

Supplement J must be filed by both the immigrant requesting a change of status and their employer. It also requires that the form is signed by any representative such as an immigration attorney in Chicago that helps prepare the documentation. The forms should be filed as soon as possible as there is no set timeframe in which the USCIS must review the documents. It should be noted that family members of those seeking an adjustment of status are not required to file their own requests.