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Alabama Immigration Law Leads To Thousands Staying Home

Phoebe Unterman |
October 6, 2011 | 8:27 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

 Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (courtesy of the state of Alabama)
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (courtesy of the state of Alabama)
Thousands of Hispanic students stayed home from school in Alabama this week after the state ruled to allow an Arizona-style immigration law requiring students and their parents to present immigration status upon enrollment in public schools.

Although the Obama administration appealed what many are considering America's toughest immigration law, U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn denied their request yesterday.

"Alabama has an interest in enforcing laws properly enacted by its legislature and not likely to be found unconstitutional," Blackburn
said in a four-page ruling.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said he was forced to pass the state law because the U.S. government failed to enforce federal immigration statutes.

”It’s heartbreaking to read about [children being pulled out of school], but it’s going to be an immigration bill or it’s not going to be one," state Sen. Rusty Glover told the American Independent News Network. Glover, a history teacher in Semmes, voted for the law.

Some 2,000 Hispanic students, almost 7 percent of the state's Hispanic student population, didn't come to school Monday, state education officials told the Christian Science Monitor.

Many parents fear getting turned in by teachers or school officials. Education officials, however, have promised that all children will be allowed to attend school and the immigration status information will only be used to report statistical data, interim state superintendent Larry Craven said in a statement.

The new immigration law also intends to force undocumented workers out of jobs and is causing many Hispanic workers, both legal and illegal, to flee the state.

According to Bill Caton, president of Associated General Contractors of America's Alabama chapter, 25 percent of workers in the commercial building industry have left since the law was upheld last week, according to NPR.


Reach Phoebe Unterman here.


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