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Reporting Students’ Immigration Status is NOT a Federal Requirement

lcastrejon's picture

Regardless of a student's immigration status or undocumented status, college and K-12 school administrators are not required by the Federal Government to report their status. In 2008 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had written a letter to North Carolina when the state had considered barring undocumented students from attending its public colleges and universities. DHS had even sent another letter, this time to North Carolina's Attorney General reiterating the same point. Up until that point, the federal laws had been confusing to understand and a bit ambiguous. According to the National Immigration Law Center, the DHS had made the following clarification in its letter,

"admission to college is not a “public benefit” that is regulated by federal immigration or public benefits law, and that the individual states must decide for themselves whether or not to admit illegal aliens into their public post-secondary institutions.  States may bar or admit illegal aliens from enrolling in public post-secondary institutions either as a matter of policy or through legislation." -Found on NILC Page.

In addition, in the case that a state does not have a formal policy or rule declaring its stance on the matter, the decision is passed down to the colleges and universities themselves. However, if the state or a school were to deny admission to an undocumented student then “it must use federal immigration status standards to identify which applicants are illegal aliens” (NILC page).

A copy of the letter has been attached at the bottom of the post for those interested in taking a closer look.