All kids should have access to education, despite their legal status: Quebec

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WATCH ABOVE: The government of Quebec says education should be free for all children – even those who are here without proper documentation. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, officials say children who arrive without status shouldn’t be penalized – Sep 7, 2017

Despite what’s happening on the other side of the border, “here, we’ve chosen to be open,” said Quebec’s education minister.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would end what’s known as the “Dreamers’ program” — it protects 800,000 immigrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally as children.

READ MORE: Donald Trump gives Congress 6 months on DACA or ‘I will revisit this issue’

At the same time, Quebec began its public hearings on Bill 144 to give free education to the children of illegal immigrants. It’s estimated there are several hundred children living in Quebec without proper documentation. Education Minister Sebastien Proulx said children, whose parents are here without official status, should not be penalized.

“Their parents are afraid their personal information will be handed over to immigration — or that they’ll be forced to pay for their child’s education,” the minister explained.

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He added, “Quebec has signed international agreements, but we weren’t doing what we said we would do.”

Proulx said that asylum seekers‘ children are already going to school in Quebec.

“UNESCO [says] that every child has the right to an education,” said Corinne Payne, Federation of Parents’ Committees of Quebec president.

READ MORE: Investigation underway into quality of Quebec’s French proficiency programs

If Bill 144 is passed, Quebec will allow all children free access to school and keep their parents’ information confidential. During a public hearing Thursday, Payne told the National Assembly that schools might still inadvertently share information of illegal immigrants.

“Because we’re such an era of technology, everyone’s afraid their information is going to be pirated or used incorrectly,” she said.

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