Second Rate Status for Immigrant Children in One School District

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

According to a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Florida school district of Collier County Public Schools will not allow immigrant children to enroll in regular classrooms. They can be enrolled in English only classes, but not in regular classes for all subjects. Even though they are legal, if they are not U.S. citizens they are not allowed into any of the other classes where they can eventually gain a high school diploma. If immigrant students are not allowed to gain a high school diploma, then they cannot do anything as adults. This discrimination is simply based on the fact that these students were not born and raised in the United States. Further, this is a clear violation of Florida state law as well as U.S. federal law.

What is happening in this case is, sadly, a part of the anti-immigrant feeling that has been sweeping the United States in this presidential election. But it portends to a much larger problem—immigrants, whether legal or undocumented—are being made scapegoats for the far larger problems facing America and Americans. This type of nativist xenophobia is making itself felt in a number of ways. These may include local and state laws against immigrants, or it may actually involve vicious rhetoric against certain groups of immigrants. At any rate, this all seems to achieve the same end result—making immigrants second class people and worse threatening them. To deny their children a basic education is tantamount to taking away their freedom and all their parents have worked and sacrificed for. I only hope that the lawsuit succeeds.

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