The mayor of Lynn, Massachusetts, claims that some of the illegal immigrant children enrolling in her city's schools are not children at all.
"One of the things that we did notice when we were processing some of these students coming in was that they were adults," Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, CNS News reported. "There were people with more wrinkles than I have around their eyes."
She said the federal government will not allow school officials to verify the ages of the students, even though one of them turned out to be 35, CNS News reported.
"We were told through a directive from the Department of Justice (DOJ) that we were not to question or verify — attempt to verify these ages," Ms. Kennedy said.
The mayor told CNS News that while school officials cannot ask to verify ages, they have been able to confirm through other means that some of the students are indeed adults.
"We have no ability to confront a student directly and demand an accurate age," she said. "Every once in a while, we'll be able to determine that someone is well above the age at which they would be entitled to an education in the Lynn Public Schools.
"For example, if a student does not show up for a few days of classes, we will send our truant officers out to find out what's going on at that home," Ms. Kennedy continued. "One example: The woman who answered [the] door said, 'He's 35 years old — he's not going to show up at school. ...' But we cannot, per DOJ guidelines, we cannot ask them for any more verification of age."
The Department of Justice issued a statement to public schools in May reminding them that they are legally required to enroll all children, CNS News reported.
"You must ensure that you do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and that students are not barred from enrolling in public schools at the elementary and secondary level on the basis of their own citizenship or immigration status of that of their parents or guardians," it said.
CNS News reports that under federal law, "the term 'child' means any person within the age limits for which the State provides free public education." In Massachusetts, those between the ages of 3 and 21 are eligible to attend public school, the report said.
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