Continued from page 1

In theory, every child has the right to go to school in Thailand — even the children of migrants, Mr. Hall said. But there is little or no budget for them, the schools are full, and “the law is not enforced.”

Those without proper Thai papers faced shakedowns from Thai authorities, and even the legal process of obtaining a Myanmar passport in Thailand is clouded by mass corruption.

Thailand used to have an almost ad hoc system of registration that allowed abuses but also a certain amount of flexibility. But two years ago, it implemented a new policy to formalize the legal status of migrant workers, forcing them to have their identities verified by their home countries and be issued temporary passports under a so-called Nationality Verification process.

Migrant advocates contend the elaborate registration system does not give Myanmar workers promised benefits but instead forces them to turn to labor middlemen to complete the complicated process, at highly inflated prices.

Speaking in Mahachai on Thursday, Mrs. Suu Kyi told thousands of cheering migrants she officially came to attend the World Economic Forum for East Asia.

“But the truth is, the most important thing I am doing here is studying the situation of migrants and refugees, to find out how I can help,” she said to resounding applause.

“I want to tell everyone who wants to go back home that I am trying as soon as possible to make our home a place worth living in that nobody should have to leave,” Mrs. Suu Kyi said.

Associated Press writer Grant Peck contributed to this report.