Immigrant students inundated a Georgia school district registration center this week seeking to sign up for classes.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reports that nearly 200 families with immigrant students were waiting outside the DeKalb County registration facility early Monday morning.
“We got here, and there was a long line,” Sandra Nunez, head of the school district’s International Welcome Center, told AJC.
The report comes as the Department of Education has made it clear that illegal immigrant students are “entitled to” public eduction and the southern border is in crisis with tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally — many of whom are later placed with a sponsor in the U.S. as they await immigration hearings.
School districts are not permitted to inquire about students’ immigration status.
Additionally, AJC reports that Thursday night people spent the night outside the registration facility believing a false rumor that they needed to sign up their students for classes by Friday. Students can, in fact, register year-round.
Nunez told AJC that last week the school registered about 300 immigrant students.
According to AJC, the DeKalb center can only handle about 60 new registrants a day. The registration office dealt with the run on the facility by handing out 180 numbered cards; the first 60 were to be processed Monday, the rest the following days.
Given the inability of school districts to request information about students’ immigration status, officials could not tell AJC whether the line was directly correlated with the ongoing crisis at the border.
Since October, more than 62,900 unaccompanied minors have been detained illegally entering the United States through the southern border. The vast majority of these youths are from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
AJC reports that Nunez said that the proportion of Spanish-speaking students is about the same as last year. According to the paper, DeKalb County usually sees about 2,000 new immigrants registered a year. This year to date the district has seen about 1,300.