department of justice » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘department of justice’
May 12, 2014 0

Schools Must Educate All Students, Regardless of Immigration Status

The U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ) and the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion (DOE) last week issued crit­i­cal joint guid­ance to schools nation­wide remind­ing them of their respon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide qual­ity edu­ca­tion for all youths, regard­less of immi­gra­tion sta­tus.  Writ­ing that they “have become aware of stu­dent enroll­ment prac­tices that may chill or dis­cour­age the par­tic­i­pa­tion, or lead to the exclu­sion, of stu­dents based on their or their par­ents’ or guardians’ actual or per­ceived cit­i­zen­ship or immi­gra­tion sta­tus,” the Dear Col­league let­ter under­scored for schools that deny­ing edu­ca­tion to stu­dents because of their immi­gra­tion sta­tus vio­lates fed­eral law. plyer-guidance

Titles IV and VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 pro­hibit dis­crim­i­na­tion on the basis of race, color, or national ori­gin, among other fac­tors, respec­tively, by pub­lic ele­men­tary and sec­ondary schools and by recip­i­ents of fed­eral assis­tance.  In 1982 the U.S. Supreme Court held in Plyler v. Doe that a state may not deny access to pub­lic edu­ca­tion to any child resid­ing in the state, no mat­ter his or her immi­gra­tion sta­tus.  The Court explained that deny­ing “inno­cent chil­dren” access to pub­lic edu­ca­tion “imposes a life­time of hard­ship on a dis­crete class of chil­dren not account­able for their dis­abling status…By deny­ing these chil­dren basic edu­ca­tion, we deny them the abil­ity to live within the struc­ture of our civic insti­tu­tions, and fore­close any real­is­tic pos­si­bil­ity that they will con­tribute in even the small­est way to the progress of our Nation.”

In recent years some states and school dis­tricts have tried to require par­ents to dis­close immi­gra­tion sta­tus or pro­vide doc­u­ments unavail­able to undoc­u­mented immi­grants when enrolling their chil­dren in pub­lic schools.  Such require­ments, as the new guid­ance reminds schools, vio­late fed­eral law.  They also run afoul of our val­ues as a nation of immi­grants.  As the Supreme Court wisely rec­og­nized, edu­ca­tion is the build­ing block to suc­cess.  Pro­vid­ing chil­dren access to high qual­ity edu­ca­tion not only serves those chil­dren well, but is also good pol­icy for our coun­try.  Stu­dents who receive high qual­ity edu­ca­tion have the poten­tial to become entre­pre­neurs boost­ing our econ­omy, sci­en­tists research­ing cures for thus far incur­able dis­eases, world lead­ers shap­ing global pol­icy, and so many other possibilities.

Today, 16 states have leg­isla­tively extended in-state tuition to undoc­u­mented stu­dents and other state schools have extended in-state tuition of their own accord, mak­ing col­lege a real­ity for many chil­dren who were brought to the U.S. as chil­dren, have stud­ied hard, and have grad­u­ated from Amer­i­can schools.  As the Court rec­og­nized in Plyler, and the DOJ and DOE under­scored with their guid­ance last week, all chil­dren should have access to high qual­ity edu­ca­tion, no mat­ter their immi­gra­tion sta­tus.  It is time to extend those prin­ci­ples nation­wide from ele­men­tary and sec­ondary schools to higher edu­ca­tion as well.

 


 

Las escue­las deben edu­car a todos los estu­di­antes, sin impor­tar su esta­tus migratorio

El Depar­ta­mento de Jus­ti­cia (DOJ) y el Depar­ta­mento de Edu­cación (DOE, por sus siglas en inglés) de los Esta­dos Unidos emi­tieron con­jun­ta­mente la sem­ana pasada una guía crítica para las escue­las a nivel nacional, recordán­doles su respon­s­abil­i­dad de pro­por­cionar edu­cación de cal­i­dad a todos los jóvenes, sin impor­tar su esta­tus migra­to­rio.  Afir­mando que “han encon­trado prác­ti­cas de inscrip­ción de estu­di­antes que pueden desan­i­mar o desalen­tar la par­tic­i­pación, o con­ll­e­var a la exclusión de  estu­di­antes basán­dose en la ciu­dadanía o esta­tus migra­to­rio real o percibido de ellos o sus padres o tutores”, la Carta a los Cole­gas recuerda a las escue­las que negar la edu­cación a los estu­di­antes por su esta­tus migra­to­rio es una vio­lación de la ley federal.

Los Artícu­los IV y VI de la Ley de Dere­chos Civiles de 1964 pro­híben la dis­crim­i­nación por motivos de raza, color u ori­gen nacional, entre otros fac­tores, respec­ti­va­mente, por parte de las escue­las públi­cas pri­marias y secun­darias y los recep­tores de asis­ten­cia fed­eral.  En 1982, el Tri­bunal Supremo de Esta­dos Unidos sos­tuvo en Plyler v. Doe que un estado no puede negar el acceso a la edu­cación pública a ningún niño que resida en el estado, sin impor­tar su esta­tus migra­to­rio.  La Corte explicó que negar a “niños inocentes” el acceso a la edu­cación pública, es “impon­erle una vida de penurias a unos niños que no son respon­s­ables de su condi­ción migra­to­ria… Al negarle a estos niños la edu­cación básica, se les niega la capaci­dad de vivir den­tro de la estruc­tura de nues­tras insti­tu­ciones cívi­cas y se excluye toda posi­bil­i­dad real de que con­tribuyan al pro­greso de nues­tra nación”.

En los últi­mos años, algunos esta­dos y dis­tri­tos esco­lares han inten­tado exi­gir a los padres cuando inscriben a sus hijos en las escue­las públi­cas que rev­e­len su esta­tus migra­to­rio o pro­por­cio­nen doc­u­men­tos que los inmi­grantes indoc­u­men­ta­dos no tienen.  Esos req­ui­si­tos, como le recuerda la nueva guía a las escue­las, violan la ley fed­eral; tam­bién entran en con­flicto con nue­stros val­ores como nación de inmi­grantes.  Como recono­ció sabi­a­mente la Corte Suprema, la edu­cación es la piedra angu­lar del éxito.  Pro­por­cionar a los niños acceso a una edu­cación de alta cal­i­dad no sólo le sirve a esos niños, tam­bién es una buena política para nue­stro país.  Los estu­di­antes que reciben una edu­cación de alta cal­i­dad tienen el poten­cial de con­ver­tirse en empre­sar­ios que impulsen nues­tra economía, cien­tí­fi­cos que inves­tiguen curas para enfer­medades hasta ahora incur­ables, líderes mundi­ales que con­tribuyan a la política global, y muchas otras posibilidades.

Hoy día, 16 esta­dos han exten­dido por ley la matrícula estatal a los estu­di­antes indoc­u­men­ta­dos y otras escue­las estatales lo han hecho por su propia vol­un­tad, haciendo real­i­dad la edu­cación para muchos niños que fueron traí­dos a Esta­dos Unidos cuando pequeños, han estu­di­ado mucho y se han grad­u­ado de escue­las amer­i­canas.  Como la Corte recono­ció en Plyler, y el DOJ y el DOE destac­aron con su guía de la sem­ana pasada, todos los niños deben tener acceso a edu­cación de alta cal­i­dad, sin impor­tar su esta­tus migra­to­rio.  Ya es hora de ampliar esos prin­ci­p­ios a nivel nacional, desde las escue­las pri­marias y secun­darias hasta la edu­cación superior.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

March 11, 2014 2

President’s Civil Rights Nominee Rejected For Defending Civil Rights

Last week, on March 5, a major­ity of Sen­a­tors voted to block the nom­i­na­tion of Debo Adeg­bile, Pres­i­dent Obama’s choice to be the next Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­eral for Civil Rights – replac­ing Tom Perez, now Sec­re­tary of Labor. The vote to refuse to con­firm Adeg­bile was 47–52 (with Major­ity Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) cast­ing a “no” vote in order to pre­serve the pos­si­bil­ity of bring­ing the nom­i­na­tion to the floor again).debo-adegbile

Adegbile’s nom­i­na­tion had attracted con­sid­er­able sup­port – includ­ing the Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion and a num­ber of lead­ing con­ser­v­a­tive advo­cates who had been on the other side of legal argu­ments with Adeg­bile in the past. The Anti-Defamation League was among 86 national civil rights, reli­gious, and law enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tions that had endorsed his nom­i­na­tion in a let­ter to Sen­a­tors

Adeg­bile was not defeated because he was unqual­i­fied for the post. To the con­trary, Adeg­bile, a vot­ing rights expert who had argued two cases before the United States Supreme Court, is one of the pre-eminent civil rights lit­i­ga­tors of his gen­er­a­tion. He had served as Direc­tor of Lit­i­ga­tion and, later, as Act­ing Pres­i­dent and Director-Counsel of the sto­ried civil rights orga­ni­za­tion, the NAACP Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tion Fund (LDF). 

Instead, oppo­si­tion to Adeg­bile was focused, almost exclu­sively, on the fact that the LDF became coun­sel for Mumia Abu-Jamal dur­ing his tenure. Abu-Jamal was con­victed of killing Philadel­phia police offi­cer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. Far from “seek­ing to glo­rify an unre­pen­tant cop-killer,” as Sen­ate Minor­ity Leader Mitch McConnell wrongly asserted, LDF lawyers had not argued that Abu-Jamal was inno­cent or wrongly con­victed. They argued, in post-conviction appeal pro­ceed­ings, that his death sen­tence had been tainted by jury instruc­tions that were flawed and improper – an argu­ment that pre­vailed in the courts.  Adeg­bile was involved in the case tan­gen­tially, in a super­vi­sory capacity.

As the con­tro­versy over Adegbile’s LDF involve­ment in the Abu-Jamal appeal grew, the Pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion felt it nec­es­sary to write to Sen­a­tors to remind them how the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem in Amer­ica is sup­posed to work: 

I was alarmed to learn that there is some oppo­si­tion to Mr. Adegbile’s nom­i­na­tion based solely on his efforts to pro­tect the fun­da­men­tal rights of an unpop­u­lar client while work­ing at the Legal Defense Fund. His work, like the work of ABA mem­bers who pro­vide thou­sands of hours of pro bono legal ser­vices every year, is con­sis­tent with the finest tra­di­tion of this country’s legal pro­fes­sion and should be com­mended, not condemned.

Fol­low­ing his defeat, many com­men­ta­tors have rightly labeled the Senate’s treat­ment of Adeg­bile unfair, con­trast­ing his involve­ment in rep­re­sent­ing a highly unpop­u­lar defen­dant with sim­i­lar legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion by for­mer Pres­i­dent John Adams and Chief Jus­tice John Roberts – who both, famously, rep­re­sented indi­vid­u­als charged with mur­der.  In 1770, John Adams rep­re­sented British sol­diers indicted for mur­der­ing five peo­ple in what would later be called the “Boston Mas­sacre” dur­ing British occu­pa­tion of the colonies. Six of the sol­diers on trial, includ­ing their com­mand­ing offi­cer, were acquit­ted of the charges, and two oth­ers were con­victed on manslaugh­ter.   And when he was in pri­vate prac­tice, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice John Roberts rep­re­sented a Florida death-row inmate who, with two co-defendants, had been con­victed of killing eight peo­ple in 1978. 

The defeat of Debo Adegbile’s nom­i­na­tion sends a deeply dis­turb­ing mes­sage to lawyers who might now think twice before affil­i­at­ing with advo­cacy groups or serv­ing jus­tice by rep­re­sent­ing con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures or causes.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,