Alabama requires schools to check for immigrants

Should schools teach all students to become productive members of society, or should they scare off people the state doesn’t like at the moment, spending resources to do it that could be spent teaching?

Liz Goodwin blogs in The Lookout for Yahoo! News, 10 June 2011, Alabama immigration law pressures schools to check immigration status

Alabama’s new immigration law is drawing comparisons to SB1070, the anti-illegal immigration crackdown signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer last year before a judge quickly blocked it from going into effect.

But Alabama’s new law is actually much broader and much tougher than SB 1070–most notably for a provision that asks school administrators to check the immigration status of their students.

Supporters say the law will help the state determine how much public money goes to educating undocumented children.

“That is where one of our largest costs come from,” Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale told The Montgomery Advertiser. “It’s part of the cost factor.”

So deal with it by putting more unfunded work on the heads of school administrators?

Besides, if all the schools are required to do is check, what money does that save?

The law doesn’t say schools should turn away students who can’t provide documentation–that would be in blatant violation of the 1982 Supreme Court ruling Plyler v. Doe, which struck down a Texas law that forbade public money going to the education of illegal immigrants. In the Plyler case, the court ruled that fashioning laws to punish children violated the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law.
No, they can’t turn students away, but they can scare them away, just by checking.

I’m with Mobile County School Board President Ken Megginson: schools

“are not in the law enforcement business.”
And they shouldn’t be recruitment shops for private prisons, either.

How about deal with one of the root causes instead: the war on drugs, which has run up violence and run down the economy in the countries immigrants are fleeing? How about legalize drugs starting with marijuana, and spend less money on prisons and stupid anti-immigration laws and redirect some of it to prevention, rehabilitation, and yes, education! Want still more money for education? Stop pouring it down the drain in Afghanistan and Iraq, where those failed shooting wars waste money just like the failed war on drugs.

We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Spend those tax dollars on education instead.