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TESOL Statement on Cuts to Education for Detained Migrant Children

by David Cutler | 06/07/2019
TESOL International Association is extremely concerned about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ plan to reduce or eliminate English education, legal aid, and recreation programs for over 13,000 migrant children being held at the southern U.S. border. All children, regardless of immigration status, should have access to a high-quality, uninterrupted education in the United States. Furthermore, as part of a 1997 settlement resulting from Flores v. Reno, the U.S. government is responsible for providing a number of basic services for detained migrant children, including a structured education, English language instruction, and reading materials in the child’s native language​

TESOL has held firm in its belief that the immigration system in the United States must be fair and humane, providing immigrants with dignity and opportunities to improve their lives. The administration’s plans to cut critical activities such as English language classes run contrary to the association’s mission and values. TESOL calls on the administration to reverse its decision and continue to provide these crucial programs for young learners and asks the United States Congress to exercise its oversight and budgetary authority to help further fund education initiatives for young migrants detained at the border.