Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Students from Undocumented and Immigrant Families

  • Student outside with a group of classmates

    Q: How will the President’s recent executive orders on immigration affect my child or my family if we do not have lawful immigration status?

    A: The effect of these executive orders is not yet clear.  If you have questions regarding how the changes could impact you, it is best to consult with an immigration attorney. Also, a list of resources with additional information can be found at the end of this page.

    Q: How does my child's immigration status or my immigration status affect my child's ability to attend school? 

    A: Immigration status has no effect.  All children, regardless of a child's immigration status or the immigration status of that child's parent, have the right to a public education at the primary and secondary levels.  Equal access to public education, including the ability to attend school and graduate upon completion of high school, is required under the Constitution and federal law.   The U.S. Department of Education's website contains additional information about this right.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa has also prepared additional information about this right.  

    Q: How does the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) ensure that no student or family is discriminated against or harassed because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin?

    A: The ICCSD's policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, or national origin in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices.  The ICCSD also has a Department of Equity that helps fulfill the District's commitment and obligation not to discriminate and also helps to keep students, parents, and District staff informed about their civil rights and responsibilities under the law. 

    The ICCSD Board of Education is committed to providing a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect.  As a result, harassment and bullying of students, school employees, applicants, vendors, visitors, and/or volunteers are not tolerated and the Board has in place policies, procedures, and practices that are designed to reduce and eliminate bullying and harassment as well as processes and procedures to deal with incidents of bullying and harassment.  

    Q: What should I do if I feel like I have been the victim of discrimination or harassment?

    A: Individuals who feel like they have been the victim of discrimination or harassment should follow the guidance and procedures established by the ICCSD and should report the incident to a school official.  Also, questions may be directed to Chace Ramey, Chief Human Resource Officer, 1725 N. Dodge St., Iowa City, IA 52245, 319-688-1000, ramey.chace@iowacityschools.org

    Q: Can the ICCSD ask about a child’s immigration status?  

    A: No, the ICCSD may not question a child about his or her immigration status or demand to see proof of legal immigration status.

    During the enrollment process in the ICCSD, parents must present the following documentation: 

    • Proof of the child's date of birth (for example, birth certificate, adoption record, certified statement of a physician, or an immunization record with birth date); 
    • The child's immunization records; 
    • Educational history information (for example - name and address of school child previously attended);
    • Proof of address (for example - rental agreement, utility bill, or other document showing the family's current residence). 

    A child does NOT need a social security number to be enrolled in the ICCSD. 

    Q: Could the ICCSD ever share our child’s immigration status with the federal immigration officials? 

    A: No, the ICCSD will not share students' immigration status with federal immigration officials for the purpose of enforcement of the immigration law.  Individual students' educational records are protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).   The ICCSD policy on Student Records Access can be found here.

    Q: Will my child lose eligibility to ride the bus to school, for free or reduced-priced lunch, for special education services, for ELL, etc.?

    A: No.  A child's immigration status has no effect on the child's eligibility to ride the bus to school.  Iowa law requires that the ICCSD provide transportation to all resident pupils attending school, with limited exceptions.  A child's immigration status similarly has no effect the child's eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch, eligibility for English Language Learning help, or eligibility for special education services.     

    Q: What will happen to my child if he or she has DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)?

    A: At the present time, no changes have been made to the DACA program.  However, the DACA program was instituted by executive order of former President Obama, and can similarly be cancelled by an executive order from the current president, without Congressional authorization.  If your child has DACA, you should speak with an immigration attorney to discuss whether your child has other options. 

    Q: Where can I learn more about my immigration rights? 

    A: You should contact an immigration attorney for accurate advice about your immigration rights.  To protect your rights and avoid scams, rely only upon advice from attorneys or persons with verifiable training or experience in immigration law and procedures. You can search for attorneys licensed in Iowa here, and immigration attorneys here.

    Q: Where can I find additional information about immigration issues?

    A: Many organizations have additional information and resources available relating to immigration issues.  A list of some of those resources are available on the Federal & State Resources and Nonprofit & Community Resources tabs.


    Revised: 5/31/17