Published Online: March 6, 2012
Published in Print: March 7, 2012, as Alabama Defends Immigration Checks

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Alabama Defends Immigration Checks

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Alabama defended its immigration law last week before a federal appeals court, including provisions that require schools to gather data about the citizenship and immigration status of students.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, heard arguments about Alabama's 2011 immigration law that affects unauthorized immigrants in employment, housing, contracts, and education.

The law's Section 28 requires public schools to "determine whether the student enrolling in public school was born outside the jurisdiction of the United States or is the child of an alien not lawfully present in the United States."

For students without proper documentation, schools are required to assume they are "unlawfully present" and to count them.

In response to a lawsuit filed by President Barack Obama's administration seeking to block enforcement of the law—and challenging its constitutionality—a federal district judge last fall issued an opinion refusing to enjoin the enforcement of the schools provision, among others. But the 11th Circuit blocked Section 28 in an October order.

On March 1, the 11th Circuit panel heard arguments on the Alabama law, as well as on a Georgia immigration law being challenged by the federal government.

Vol. 31, Issue 23, Page 4

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