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Migrant children kept from enrolling in school

May 4, 2016 by

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Candelario Jimon Alonzo came to the U.S. dreaming of becoming something more than what seemed possible along the rutted roads of his hometown in Guatemala’s highlands. This was his chance: He could earn a U.S. high school education and eventually become a teacher.

Instead, the 16-year-old spends most days alone in the tumbledown Memphis house where he lives with his uncle, leaving only occasionally to play soccer and pick up what English he can from his friends.

Local school officials have kept Jimon out of the classroom since he tried to enroll in January. Attorneys say Jimon and at least a dozen other migrant youth fleeing violence in Central America have been blocked from going to Memphis high schools because officials contend the teens lacked transcripts or were too old to graduate on time.

The Associated Press has found that in at least 35 districts in 14 states, hundreds of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been discouraged from enrolling in schools or pressured into what advocates and attorneys argue are separate but unequal alternative programs – essentially an academic dead end, and one that can violate federal law.

Instead of enrolling Jimon and the other minors in high school, their cash-strapped district routed them to an adult school in East Memphis that offered English classes a few hours a week. But before Jimon could even register, the state shut the GED and English-language programs over concerns that few students were graduating, effectively ending his chances for a formal education.

“I really wanted to study math and English when I got here,” said Jimon, who grew up speaking Spanish and the indigenous language Quiche. The reed thin, soft-spoken teen is in the process of applying for permission to stay in the country permanently.

Source: News from The Associated Press

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1 Comment

  1. Ned

    We are NOT an OPEN BORDER country. Apply LEGALLY for asylum. These illegals kids are draining resources from our schools and hurting everyone. Stop the mindless sob stories trying to rationalize coming here ILLEGALLY. It is not working. SEND HIM BACK. Our compassion,generosity and kindness is being exploited to an extreme and people are FED UP with it. Millions of legal Americans are out of work. They RESENT illegal people coming here and draining our system. They shouldn’t be here and need to go back to where they came from. Absolutely NO SYMPATHY for LAWLESS kids from ANY country1

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