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October 19, 2015

Teen Immigrants Receive Work Permits

Scott Woodruff Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff helps members and advocates for homeschool freedom in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.

An Illinois homeschooling family who had emigrated from India encountered unusual difficulties when their teenage daughters tried to get work permits under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In order to obtain a work permit under this program, the student must prove that he or she is enrolled in school. But the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) questioned whether the homeschooled teens were really enrolled in school.

CIS told the family that the application they had submitted failed to prove that their homeschool curriculum was equivalent to the public school curriculum, and that their students would be entitled to a high school diploma from the state of Illinois.

More Documentation

CIS asked for proof of the qualifications of the instructors in the homeschool program, a list of textbooks, and proof that the homeschool program was in full compliance with Illinois law relating to business licenses, fire and safety inspections, taxes, and similar regulations.

While none of these requests had any connection with whether the teens were legitimately enrolled in school, the CIS has broad power to investigate. It was therefore important to respond.

The family had already retained an immigration attorney to provide legal representation, but they also asked HSLDA for assistance.

Speaking as an expert on homeschooling, HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff wrote a four-page letter to CIS, responding to every one of the agency’s objections. Six weeks later, CIS granted the work permits the teens sought.

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