Sharon M. (an assumed identity to conceal her from immigration authorities) is an Ecuadorean national here on a tourist visa. As we all know, our public school system is not allowed to deny admission to any student based on their immigration status. Simply put, if people bring their kids here illegally the rest of us still have to pay for their education...in fact, I think that is the new definition of The American Dream.
As far as the school district was concerned, Sharon was here on a tourist visa which implied that her stay was temporary as opposed to an immigration status (even, ironically, an illegal status) which implied that she was in fact, a resident...of sorts.
Funny enough, I don't think I have ever heard of an immigrant actually leaving after their tourist visa had expired but who knows, anything is possible.
In any event, the State of Illinois cried "foul" and told the Elmwood School District to amend their policy or face sanctions.
The school district refused and the State of Illinois cut off their funding—yes, their funding. The other 2,799 students in the district would no longer have a school to attend, teachers would not be paid and public education would cease to exist...and for what?
According to the Chicago Tribune article,
"Elmwood Park school officials refused to admit the girl and allegedly told her they would report her to immigration authorities, said Alonzo Rivas, a staff attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, who talked to the girl about suing the district."[State slaps district that barred teen: Elmwood Park schools risk millions in immigrant case, By Colleen Mastony and Diane Rado , February 24, 2006]
Ooh, MALDEF wants to represent a foreign national in a lawsuit against the United States? That's a new one!
Then I read another story by the same writer:Unfazed by flap, barred student enjoys new life, By Colleen Mastony, Chicago Tribune February 24, 2006
Sharon M. is apparently living life down in Florida seemingly, without a care in the world. When her relatives informed her that she would be allowed to attend high school back in Chicago she replied "Like I would want to go back there."
Isn't that great? Back in Chicago, this oblivious little brat (perhaps she is not but that is what her behavior shows her to be) left a hailstorm of problems for thousands of students but is too busy playing at the beach to give them a second thought.
Yeah, she's real distraught about the ordeal.
Why do Americans fight illegal immigration? Why has their frustration carried over to immigration in general?
This is why!
Please email Elmwood Park School District and thank them for their efforts.
Please email the State of Illinois Department of Education—Dr. Randy J. Dunn, Superintendant of Schools.