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

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.
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.
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
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

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 School District Lawsuits Against Social Media Companies Are Piling Up
More than 200 school districts are now suing the major social media companies over the youth mental health crisis.
7 min read
A close up of a statue of the blindfolded lady justice against a light blue background with a ghosted image of a hands holding a cellphone with Facebook "Like" and "Love" icons hovering above it.
iStock/Getty
Law & Courts In 1974, the Supreme Court Recognized English Learners' Rights. The Story Behind That Case
The Lau v. Nichols ruling said students have a right to a "meaningful opportunity" to participate in school, but its legacy is complex.
12 min read
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William O. Douglas is shown in an undated photo.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, shown in an undated photo, wrote the opinion in <i>Lau</i> v. <i>Nichols</i>, the 1974 decision holding that the San Francisco school system had denied Chinese-speaking schoolchildren a meaningful opportunity to participate in their education.
AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court Declines to Hear School District's Transgender Restroom Case
The case asked whether federal law protects transgender students on the use of school facilities that correspond to their gender identity.
4 min read
People stand on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
People stand on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Mariam Zuhaib/AP
Law & Courts What a Proposed Ban on AI-Assisted ‘Deep Fakes’ Would Mean for Cyberbullying
Students who create AI-generated, intimate images of their classmates would be breaking federal law, if a new bill is enacted.
2 min read
AI Education concept in blue: A robot hand holding a pencil.
iStock/Getty