Gov. McAuliffe to Schools: Virginia Welcomes Immigrant Students

Virginia’s governor and superintendent of schools today announced new guidelines for how public schools should respond to President Donald J. Trump’s executive actions on immigration.

Although the president told reporters this morning that he is open to a compromise on immigration, he has in recent weeks directed law enforcement agencies to ramp up efforts to arrest and deport people who are in the country illegally.

That prompted several school system superintendents to ask for direction from Virginia’s Superintendent of Schools Steven R. Staples on the matter. Specifically, they asked what their obligations are if a students’ parents are detained.

With guidance from Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s office, Staples released a memo today that reiterates federal law that requires public schools educate K-12 students regardless of their immigration status, and to take active steps to guard the public education rights of students. Schools are prohibited from asking students’ immigration status.

He urged public schools to prepare for the potential that students’ guardians could be detained by ensuring emergency contact forms are up to date and include alternate contacts if the parents are unavailable or detained. He encouraged schools to develop a plan alongside local immigration advisors and county social services offices.

Staples stressed that schools have a legal responsibility to protect the privacy of student records, pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Charles B. Pyle, Virginia Department of Education’s director of communications, said the message to school leaders is to plan ahead.

“Dr. Staples is suggesting to division superintendents to think about this now and take the appropriate steps and have the conversations they need to have with the agencies in their community so they’re not scrambling to figure out a plan when they actually have a situation,” Pyle said.

[Read Staples’ memo here.]

Governor Terry McAuliffe said the president’s executive actions on immigration have led to fear and uncertainty in many of our communities. “So let me be clear: The Commonwealth will continue to be a welcoming place for all students and families, and my administration remains committed to honoring our constitutional obligation to provide each and every pupil with a free and high-quality public education, regardless of immigration status.”

He highlighted guidelines for Virginia’s 132 school divisions that reiterate their constitutional obligation to provide education to K-12 students regardless of their immigration status, and to take active steps to guard the public education rights of students.

“These guidelines outline the rights and responsibilities of our superintendents and school boards,” Secretary of Education Dietra Trent stated. “They also reinforce our responsibility to provide every single student enrolled in a public school access to a secure learning environment where they can learn, grow and thrive.”

The new guidelines are based on legal advice from the Attorney General’s Office.

“Every child in Virginia has the right to learn and grow in a safe, supporting school,” Herring stated. “I’m happy to help Governor McAuliffe, Secretary Trent, and Superintendent Staples take proactive steps to make sure our students and their families understand their rights, and our schools understand their responsibilities to their students and communities.”

dnadler@loudounnow.com
twitter.com/danielle_nadler

8 thoughts on “Gov. McAuliffe to Schools: Virginia Welcomes Immigrant Students

  • 2017-03-01 at 1:07 pm
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    Gov. Terry: Should we keep track of all undocumented aliens for reimbursement from the Commonwealth for the cost of the education? Loudoun is now at record level for requested and/or required funding for the upcoming year. The tax money comes from those paying taxes. Illegal aliens do not pay. If you encourage more to come our costs go up. Where will the money come from?

    I have nothing against children as they have not commited a crime, i.e. entering the country illegally as their parent(s) have. I lean BLUE, but my tax bill never goes down and we have to start making hard decisions about the immigration problems. If we were a state on the southern border it would be worse.

    • 2017-03-01 at 3:03 pm
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      He doesn’t care. Those are future voters to him. His only goal is to welcome as many as he can and have them acquire citizenship.

      • 2017-03-01 at 9:10 pm
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        Excellent insight, SGP. Students today are voters tomorrow. Maybe you should go into teaching. Assuming you can absorb the huge pay cut. Your grasp on simplicity is outstanding

  • 2017-03-01 at 2:20 pm
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    Everyone knows that most of our local taxes go to the public schools.

    Your tax bill “never goes down” because your home’s value doesn’t go down. Your home”s value doesn’t go down because the schools are pretty good here. If they weren’t, your home’s value would unarguably sink.

    In fact, your home value is probably going up. Your home value is going up in part because the schools are good here, and people and businesses want to be where the schools are good.

    Yet the BoS keeps the tax rate at the “equalized” rate. By definition, that means, on average, you don’t have to pay the additional taxes on your the increased vale of your home.

    So you get to benefit from the good schools maintaining or increasing your net worth, but you don’t want to pay for that. You’re happy to let other people do that, like the educators and their students.

    Now, a lot of those “illegal immigrants” have children who are United States citizens. Whether you think they shouldn’t be doesn’t matter: they are. You don’t know how many there are, and neither do the schools. They just educate all the kids, because they’re GOING to be citizens in this country. And uneducated citizens are not good. That was decided a very long time ago.

    So why don’t you just come clean and admit that you don’t want to pay taxes to educate ANYONE ELSE’s kids. That some may have illegal immigrants as parents is just a convenient excuse to whine about having to pay taxes on your assets.

    Well, that’s how things work. That’s why we have a vibrant, engaged community here in Loudoun County with a lot of nice things and not much in the way of violent crime nor underage kids wandering the streets getting into trouble.

    This just isn’t that complicated. There’s a cost to everything. I don’t want to pay a few dollars less tax when the alternative would diminish the good stuff we have here in Loudoun County. And a lot of people agree with me.

  • 2017-03-01 at 2:48 pm
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    Not sure what you are asking from the Governor, Loudoun I? The statement is pretty clear – follow the law. The law says that schools are to educate all children. Are you suggesting that if the costs keep going up, Loudoun should break the law?

    BTW: where you do come up with the idea that illegal aliens do not pay taxes? Loudoun is funded locally by property taxes. If someone owns a home, they pay the tax directly. If they rent, part of their rent covers their landlord’s taxes. So, how does anyone hide?

  • 2017-03-02 at 1:52 pm
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    It is true that back in the late 70’s the SCOTUS determined that States must educate all students regardless of their legal status in the country. Doesn’t mean it’s a good policy but it is the law.

    Most illegals don’t pay state income taxes. As ex-Chair Hornberger was wont to say, many think Virginia should pick up more than the roughly 30% of the cost of educating our students. That 30% mainly comes from income taxes; thus, illegals are not paying those.

    Illegals also typically live in very inexpensive housing with high occupancy rates. While there are citizens who do the same, not to the same degree on average. Thus, while all parents are getting more in education for their kids than they pay in real estate taxes, illegals are getting 2-3x higher return. In fact, they receive more in education services than the poor minority family born in the US because they receive ESL support. Rather than receiving a $2K/yr or less education in Central America, they receive a $15K/yr education here at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens.

    And folks like McAuliffe, Herring, CareerSwitcher and rdj are only too proud to take from the citizens and give to the illegals. Why? Because they think they can make them citizens later on and get Democrat votes. It’s very unlikely to happen. Maybe they didn’t understand what happened in the election. The ones who entered the country illegally will almost certainly never be citizens. They may be “legalized” at some point but not with citizenship.

    The voters decided to put Americans first. That means looking after the unskilled, poor citizens who are facing competition from illegals present in the US. That means asking other countries to pay what they agreed to pay (e.g. 2% for NATO countries). It must really irk these Liberals that a majority of the Electoral College are not inclined to give handouts for future votes but to look after the interests of the US for once.

    • 2017-03-02 at 3:29 pm
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      immigration status and financial stability are not the sae, SGP. While you are luck to have an overpaid job, not every does. Your rant above suggest that only rich people should get public schools, not those who pay less in taxes, illegal or not. What a terrible stance. Lucky, the requirement to educate all regardless on income is law Otherwise we would have a country of full of poor stupid people. We already have enough rich stupid ones. We need those less wealthy to balance you out.

    • 2017-03-02 at 3:29 pm
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      immigration status and financial stability are not the same, SGP. While you are lucky to have an overpaid job, not every does. Your rant above suggests that only rich people should get public schools, not those who pay less in taxes, illegal or not. What a terrible stance. Lucky, the requirement to educate all regardless on income is law Otherwise we would have a country of full of poor stupid people. We already have enough rich stupid ones. We need those less wealthy to balance you out.

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