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11th Cir Strikes Alabama School Immigration Status Checks

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 21, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Alabama students won’t be subject to immigration status verification as they head back to school this year.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the school immigration status verification provision of Alabama’s HB 56 violates the Equal Protection Clause, reports Education Week.

The section at the center of this appeal, Section 28, requires Alabama's public elementary and secondary schools to request certain documentation from enrolling children in order to classify them as either lawfully or unlawfully present within the United States.

The measure was adopted to reduce the Alabama's costs for educating illegal immigrants who don't pay taxes, reports The Examiner.

The federal government challenged Section 28, arguing that it is preempted by 8 U.S.C. § 1643(a)(2), which provides that no federal law "may be construed as addressing alien eligibility for a basic public education as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States under Plyler v. Doe."

(In Plyler, the Supreme Court struck down both a Texas statute denying funding for education to illegal immigrant children and a school district's attempt to charge illegal immigrants tuition.)

In October, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily enjoined Section 28. Monday's decision makes the injunction permanent.

Eleventh Circuit Judge Charles R. Wilson wrote in the decision, "Section 28 operates to place undocumented children, and their families, in an impossible dilemma: either admit your unlawful status outright or concede it through silence."

In addition to Section 28, the Eleventh Circuit struck HB 56 provisions requiring aliens to carry identification at all times, and banning contracts with unlawfully present aliens.

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