Orange County Board of Commissioners Passes Resolution Protecting Rights of Immigrant Children

Yesterday, the Orange County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution that affirms the constitutional right of all children in North Carolina to attend public schools in their county of residence, without regard to their immigration status. The resolution was developed and supported by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the ACLU of North Carolina, the Orange County Human Relations Commission, and numerous individual and community partners who share the belief that education is a basic human right and should be provided to all children.
The resolution’s passage comes on the heels of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen’s decision to pass a similar resolution on November 18th. This second success represents the next step in SCSJ’s ongoing efforts to empower the immigrant community-both in the Triangle and beyond-to respond to anti-immigrant resolutions that have previously been passed in other local North Carolina jurisdictions. Orange County is now the first county in North Carolina to issue a resolution that specifically recognizes the educational rights of immigrant children. This is significant because counties are responsible for providing funding for public education.
George Eppsteiner, staff attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, noted that the Orange County resolution “supports the ability of children, regardless of their country of origin, to attend public school in North Carolina, which is consistent with domestic and international law. Other local governments should follow the example of Orange County and recognize the importance of their respective immigrant communities.”
The resolution also calls for Orange County to identify resources to increase healthcare for immigrant children and calls for the appointment of attorneys for children in immigration proceedings.  Commissioner Barry Jacobs asked that the resolution be sent to all of North Carolina’s remaining 99 counties to encourage other counties to pass similar resolutions. You may read the Orange County resolution here.