The ABC Unified School District will charge a fee for processing immigration forms, but will not require foreign-born students to complete the paperwork as a condition for enrolling in school, officials said.
Under revised district regulations, foreign-born students would pay a one-time $50 fee if they want the district to process applications for a student visa. Such a visa is required for foreign students to reside in the United States legally while attending school here.
In past years, the school district processed immigration forms without charge. Staff cutbacks prompted the new policy, which is designed to cover the costs of handling the paperwork, said Mary Sieu, supervisor of educational services.
The new policy must still be formally approved by the school board. Trustees delayed their formal approval at last week’s meeting so administrators could make minor wording changes. Board members wanted the text to state clearly that students will be allowed to attend school whether or not they are legal residents, Sieu said. The district will not police schools for illegal immigrants, she added.
Last year, the district processed student-visa applications for 212 pupils, mostly from the Far East and Pacific island nations. ABC Unified serves Cerritos, Artesia, Hawaiian Gardens and parts of Lakewood, Norwalk and Long Beach.
Many school systems, including Montebello Unified and Los Angeles Unified, process immigration forms without charge. But others, including Downey Unified, also have adopted a handling fee.