The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania [advocacy website] reached [press release] a settlement with the School District of Lancaster Tuesday over the placement of newly arrived 17 to 20-year-old immigrant students. The lawsuit [complaint] states that the students, who knew little or no English, were prevented from attending the local high school, and instead required to attend the Phoenix Academy. In the complaint, Phoenix Academy is described as a private disciplinary school that did not have appropriate support for immigrant students. The settlement creates a “Newcomer Program” at the high school for these students. The students will not be required to attend Phoenix Academy instead, but are still offered the option to do so. The students who were previously forced to attend Phoenix Academy are also given the option to transfer to the Newcomer Program. A fund of $66,500 is also being established for supplemental educational services for these students. District officials had previously stated that Phoenix Academy gave students twice as long in English courses due to the required age-out time of 21-years-old in the public school system.
The rights of immigrants has been a topic of significant attention lately due to President Donald Trump’s recent immigration executive orders. Last week, the Department of Justice had petitioned to expedite [JURIST report] the review of the latest travel ban enacted by Trump’s executive order. Also last week, a federal judge blocked [JURIST report] a Louisiana law that would require a birth certificate to grant a marriage license, which many immigrants who later become US citizens do not have. The Mississippi Senate also approved [JURIST report] a bill that would prohibit local sanctuary immigration policies in the same week.
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