Law & Courts News in Brief

Judge Requires Ala. Schools to Enforce Immigration Law

By Mark Walsh — October 04, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A federal judge has declined to block Alabama’s controversial new immigration rules that require schools to determine the citizenship status of students.

The ruling came in a lawsuit challenging the broad state law affecting unauthorized immigrants in employment, housing, contracts, and education.

U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Blackburn of Birmingham, Ala., granted the Obama administration’s request to block several of the law’s provisions, including one making it illegal under state law for unauthorized immigrants to apply for or solicit work.

However, she declined to block several other provisions, including the law’s Section 28, which 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.”

Under that provision, students or their parents must present an original birth certificate at the time of enrollment. For those who cannot present proper documentation, schools are required to assume they are “unlawfully present” in the United States. The measure requires schools to maintain statistics about the numbers of such students.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in its motion seeking to block the Alabama law, argued that the schools provision “would have a chilling effect on school attendance by children who are aliens or whose parents are aliens.”

The department cited Plyler v. Doe, the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held a state may not deny access to a basic public education to any child, whether that child is present in the country legally or not. The department noted that the U.S. departments of Justice and Education had sent a “dear colleague” letter to schools earlier this year reminding them of their obligation to enroll children regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

In her opinion in United States v. Alabama, Judge Blackburn noted that information about a parent’s immigration status is not usually included on an Alabama birth certificate, or on birth certificates from other states or countries.

“For purposes of determining the reach of [Section 28], the court assumes that school officials will not seek to determine the immigration status of parents beyond examination of the child’s birth certificate, and that such information is not included on the birth certificate,” the judge said. “Therefore, Section 28 does not compel school officials to determine the immigration status of a parent of a student.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the October 05, 2011 edition of Education Week as Judge Requires Ala. Schools to Enforce Immigration Law

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment:Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts Supreme Court Overturns 'Roe v. Wade’; States Can Ban Abortion
The decision, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents.
7 min read
A celebration outside the Supreme Court, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Washington. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years — a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Law & Courts School Groups Worry as Supreme Court Recognizes Right to Carry Handguns in Public
In a 6-3 decision over a New York state law, the court says little about schools as 'sensitive places' where guns can be prohibited.
6 min read
Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the court in 2021.
Members of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the court in 2021.
Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court Strikes Down Maine's Exclusion of Religious Schools From Tuition-Aid Program
The justices hold that barring "sectarian" schools from the program for towns without public high schools violates the First Amendment.
7 min read
Image of the Supreme Court.
iStock/Getty
Law & Courts A Charter School Made Girls Wear Skirts to Promote 'Chivalry.' An Appeals Court Says No
A federal appeals court said the charter school's policy violates the Constitution and that Title IX applies to dress codes.
4 min read
Scales of justice and Gavel on wooden table and Lawyer or Judge working with agreement in Courtroom, Justice and Law concept.
Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock