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Undocumented Individuals Now Able to Apply for Teaching Licenses in New York

The New York state Department of Education will now be able to issue licenses to individuals who came to the U.S. as children and meet certain guidelines despite not being legal citizens.

"The state Board of Regents Wednesday quietly voted on the controversial issue,” said

"The panel voted in Albany to adopt regulations that would allow certain individuals who came to the United States as children to apply for teacher certification and professional licenses from the state Education Department.”

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said the decision will help children of immigrants who have lived in the U.S. most of their lives persevere beyond legal hardships to obtain citizenship status.

"They've done everything right...They’ve worked hard in school, some have even served in the military, but when it's time to apply for a license, they're told 'Stop. That's far enough,’” Elia said, according to

The decision, however, has been extremely divisive between the state Assembly’s Democrats and Republicans.

"The lack of urgency from Washington to reform and enforce immigration laws are leading to policies like this all over the country,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore-Brooklyn), according to the article.

Staten Island Community Education Council President Michael Reilly told that while the decision may be controversial, it’s important to note that many undocumented applicants have grown up in the school systems they will later serve.

Until the federal government paves a path for these people to citizenship, Reilly said action should be taken to improve the quality of their lives in the meantime.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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