Today’s news:

Room for Every Child

In these tough times, schools are under pressure to cut costs. In some parts of the state, schools reportedly have been looking for ways to reduce the number of children who not have the proper immigration papers. Doing this violates a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which holds that immigration status cannot be used to refuse children equal access to a public education.

But there are ways to get around the ruling. When schools ask for the Social Security number of a child, it sends a red flag to parents. Worse yet, the state Department of Education has sent letters demanding noncitizen children show a resident alien card. Parents are warned that if the card is expired, the child will not be accepted into school.

This practice has to stop.

To our knowledge, city public schools have not made an effort to identify children who may be in this country illegally. Nor should they.

At the risk of annoying the Tea Party movement, we hope these children will continue to be welcomed in our public schools and that their parents will not fear that sending their children to school will expose them to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

We are still the country that proclaims, “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Every child deserves a quality education.

A Limit to Taking Names

Does it matter if the police know who you are? Are your rights violated when the NYPD keeps information on people who are stopped and frisked and not arrested?

The state Legislature has passed a bill that prevents the NYPD from keeping data on innocent people. Gov. David Paterson has signed that bill into law. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the new law will have a negative impact on public safety. They claim the information collected during the stop-and-frisks was a valuable tool in fighting crime.

We hope the police commissioner and mayor are wrong that the police will be able to move forward in the war on crime without this tool. At the same time, community leaders should know the new law is only a Band-Aid. More needs to be done to improve the relationship between the NYPD and city’s minorities.

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