Schools a haven for many unaccompanied minors

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Updated: Tue, 15 Jul 2014 07:20:51 EST

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — For tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border primarily from Central America, U.S. schools are one of the few government institutions where they are guaranteed services.

While their cases are processed, most are released to family members or sponsors who are told the children must be enrolled in school.

School districts in metropolitan areas like Miami, Houston and Washington have seen an uptick in the number of these students and anticipate more could enroll this fall.

They often need special resources like English language and mental health services already strained by budget cuts. Many are at risk for dropping out.

Last May, federal officials reminded districts that a 1982 Supreme Court ruling gives all children the right to enroll in school, regardless of immigration status.

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