A lawmaker will submit a bill that will allow the children of illegal aliens to get public education.
The bill stipulates that children of both legal and illegal foreign residents have the right to an education as guaranteed by the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Korea signed the convention in 1991.
“Current law does allow such children to go to public school here. But principals have the authority to accept or reject them,” said Rep. Kim Se-yeon of the ruling Grand National Party Tuesday.
If the bill is enacted, foreign children can gain admission to elementary, middle and high schools in South Korea without being questioned on their parents’ residency status.
The proposal is a crucial step in accepting illegal aliens here, analysts say. An estimated 225,000 foreigners illegally reside in the country, accounting for 20 percent of the overall foreign population.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that children of illegal immigrants should not be punished by being denied public education. Therefore, states cannot ask public school students if they are legal or illegal residents of the country.
“The thing that matters is whether they go to school where they reside,” lawyer Lee Gang-cheol said.
Other countries also allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend school. In France, a person is not required to turn in their visas or residency documents, allowing illegal residents’ children to receive public education until the age of 16.
How will this work then? Illegal immigrants being chased with tasers and stun guns while ushering their kids to school? What the UN says certainly dictates for what Korean ‘official policy’ states, but expect a different process beneath the glossy veneer that is oft-projected to those looking in.