Students warned to prove Texas residence or leave

DEL RIO, Texas (AP) - Students living in northern Mexico have skirted residency requirements to attend U.S. public schools for generations. But when the superintendent in one Texas border town got word that about 400 school-age children were crossing the international bridge daily with backpacks but no student visas, he decided to act.

The bridge links Del Rio, Texas, with Ciudad Acuna (ah-KOON'-yah) in Mexico. Like most border cities, the towns operate in tandem, with U.S. citizens and green card holders living, working and shopping on both sides.

All of it's legal, but public school attendance by children living in Mexico is something else.

State law requires students to live in the district, but it's a rule that many officials don't rigidly enforce. Some are uncomfortable with following the letter of the law because doing so could deny U.S. citizen children access to public schools. Also, turning away students cost the districts money.

But Superintendent Kelt Cooper of the San Felipe-Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District took action after seeking several vans bearing Mexican license plates unload children at district schools.

He directed district officials to stake out the bridge and warn students they could face expulsion if they don't prove they live in the district. That move has brought complaints from civil rights groups and support from anti-immigrant proponents. Students living in northern Mexico have
skirted residency requirements to attend U.S. public schools for generations. But when the superintendent in one Texas border town got word that about 400 school-age children were crossing the
international bridge daily with backpacks but no student visas, he decided to act.

The bridge links Del Rio, Texas, with Ciudad Acuna (ah-KOON'-yah) in Mexico. Like most border cities, the towns operate in tandem, with U.S. citizens and green card holders living, working and shopping on both sides.

All of it's legal, but public school attendance by children living in Mexico is something else.

State law requires students to live in the district, but it's a rule that many officials don't rigidly enforce. Some are uncomfortable with following the letter of the law because doing so could deny U.S. citizen children access to public schools. Also, turning away students cost the districts money.

But Superintendent Kelt Cooper of the San Felipe-Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District took action after seeking several vans bearing Mexican license plates unload children at district schools.

He directed district officials to stake out the bridge and warn students they could face expulsion if they don't prove they live in the district. That move has brought complaints from civil rights groups and support from anti-immigrant proponents.


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