Feds Press Ala. Schools for Attendance Data
As litigation over Alabama's tough new immigration law continues, federal civil rights authorities have ramped up pressure on the state's public schools to show they are not violating federal law by denying students access to schooling because of their immigration status.
Saying Alabama's immigration law "may chill or discourage student participation" in public education, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez—who is the head of the civil rights division for the U.S. Department of Justice—last week ordered 39 school districts in the state to submit detailed enrollment data to his office, including information about students who have withdrawn from school since the current academic year began. Those districts were targeted because they have a "considerable number of Hispanic students," said Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department.
But Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange told school superintendents late last week to hold off on providing the data until the Justice Department cites what legal authority it has for requesting the information. In a Nov. 2 letter to Mr. Perez, Mr. Strange wrote that he is "perplexed and troubled" by the demand for student-enrollment data and questioned the Justice Department's standing...
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