Illegal immigrants are enrolling in our schools – but they’ve got grey hair and more wrinkles than me, warns city mayor

  • Lynn, Massachusetts mayor, Judith Flanagan Kennedy, made the claims
  • One of the Guatemalan students was revealed to be 35 years old
  • Number of Guatemalan students enrolling in Lynn's schools has doubled 
  • They are claiming to be 14-18, but many believed to be much older
  • Officials cannot verify their ages as Department of Justice forbids it
  • Public schools legally required to enrol children of any immigration status

Lynn mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, who claims over-age Guatemalan immigrants are using schools

The mayor of a city in Massachusetts has claimed that some illegal immigrants who have entered from Guatemala and are enrolled in public schools have greying hair and more wrinkles than her. 

Judith Flanagan Kennedy, mayor of Lynn, said that many attending the schools are not children, but federal government will not allow officials to verify their ages.

One of the students was revealed to be 35 years old, while others are clearly much older than 21 - the oldest at which you are entitled to attend public schools in Massachusetts - Ms Kennedy said.

'One of the things that we did notice when we were processing some of these students coming in was that they were adults,' she told CNS News at a press conference.

'There were people with greying temples,' she added. 'There were people with more wrinkles than I have around their eyes.'

Most of the immigrants coming into the schools from Guatemala were claiming to be between 14 and 18 years old, but the schools have no way of officially verifying their real ages.

Ms Kennedy says they have been told by the Department of Justice that they cannot, and with the number of Guatemalan students almost doubling from 2012-13 to the last academic year, she warned that this could lead to an increase in taxes, in order to pay for their education.

In 2013-14, 101 Guatemalans enrolled at Lynn's public schools, compared with 56 the previous year.

Public schools are required by law to enrol all children - no matter their immigration status.

A child, according to federal law, is someone for whom State education is provided and is within the age limits. In Massachusetts, that is between 3 and 21 years old.

Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Lynn, Massachusetts, around 10 miles north of Boston

Ms Kennedy said that despite there being no official way to tell if these alien students are in fact adults, it can be very easy to tell.

'Every once in a while, we’ll be able to determine that someone is well above the age at which they would be entitled to an education in the Lynn Public Schools,' she said.

'For example, if a student does not show up for a few days of classes, we will send our truant officers out to find out what’s going on at that home.'

She told of how officials turned up at the door of one 'boy' who had repeatedly been missing school, only to be told by a woman who answered that he was 35 years old.

The Department of Justice stated to public schools back in May: 'You must ensure that you do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and that students are not barred from enrolling in public schools at the elementary and secondary level on the basis of their own citizenship or immigration status of that of their parents or guardians.' 

Lynn is around 10 miles north of Boston, and is the ninth biggest city in Massachusetts. The district is home to 26 schools.

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