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NYSED Statement on Rights of Newly Arrived Immigrants

August 15, 2023

In response to the unprecedented number of recently arrived students and families arriving in our schools, NYSED’s Office of Counsel has released a statement reaffirming the right of all students—regardless of legal immigration status—to receive equal access to all school programs and services. This statement reminds districts that these are legal protections that cannot be refused to students, including those who are newly arrived to the region due to relocation coordinated by any state agency, local agency, or other organization.

Click here to download this statement.

Information on support for asylum seekers and other recently arrived immigrants can be found on the Immigrants and Newcomers page on OBEWL’s website. For additional support please contact your local Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN).

We also remind districts that newly arrived youth over the age of compulsory school attendance (age 16 in New York State), while not required to attend upon full-time instruction, are entitled to enroll in a full-time high school program if they wish. While such individuals may voluntarily pursue a high school equivalency diploma, districts may not compel them to forego a full time high school program or steer them toward this alternative option.

Click here to download Guidance Relating to the Right of Individuals Over Compulsory School Age to Attend High School.

For further questions regarding support for recently arrived students, please contact the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages at