NEW YORK (PIX11) – New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York State Education Department Commissioner Betty Rosa on Monday reminded people in a letter that every student has a right to a free public education in the state — including migrant children.
Individuals between 5 and 21 years old are allowed to be enrolled in public schools in New York, regardless of nationality or immigration status.
The state guidance reminded schools they cannot implement, “policies or requirements that would prevent noncitizen or undocumented students, as well students from families without a lease from registering for school.”
The letter comes as the migrant crisis continues to heat up in New York City. In the latest count, the city has accepted nearly 105,000 migrants and about 60,000 are still in its care.
Some are now staying at St. John Villa Academy, a former school on Staten Island. A protest was held at the academy Monday night, with people saying they’re uncomfortable with so many adult migrants living near a school.
“This has nothing to do with politics for me. I feel like we’re being bullied. I feel like people who have an unknown background don’t belong across the street from a school. It’s that simple,” said Staten Island resident Amanda Anderson.
The city and state have also been begging for help from the federal government on the migrant crisis. Homeland Security responded with a letter, saying the city could be doing two dozen things better when handling the crisis.
The list includes issues of authority structure, personnel and information flow, data collection, planning, case management, communications and other aspects of day-to-day operations.
“I haven’t read through the entire letter,” Mayor Eric Adams said on Monday. “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. We are going to continue to push for those things that are important.”
The letter from the federal government also said it would allow 800 migrants to stay at a hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport and mentions 11 sites around the state that could be used as shelters.