Immigration law requires schools to enroll, check citizenship status of all students

Published 12:36 pm Friday, September 30, 2011

Interim State Superintendent Larry E. Craven advised all Alabama schools in a memo Wednesday that the state’s new immigration law will take effect Friday, Sept. 30.

The law was slated to take effect Sept. 1, but U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn issued a temporary injunction in August to give herself another month to examine the law.

In a Sept. 28 ruling, Blackburn upheld most sections of the law, including Section 28, which requires all public schools to determine if an enrolling student was born outside of the United States.

According to Craven, the law mandates that all students be enrolled regardless of whether parents submit documentation, and no student will be denied enrollment or admission into schools for failure to provide a birth certificate or other documentation.

“It does not apply to students already enrolled,” said Chilton County Superintendent Dave Hayden. “It just applies to new students coming in.”

Hayden said if a student enrolling does not have a U.S. birth certificate, parents must provide additional documentation and sign forms proving the student’s citizenship status.

“It’s essentially a paperwork thing,” Hayden said. “We (schools) just fill out the papers, and our part’s done.”

All schools are aware of the new registration policy and required paperwork, but confusion about the law has lingered.

“There is some confusion with our Hispanic parents and students,” Hayden said. “We’ve had some withdraw.

“The act does cover more than just the schools,” Hayden said. “There is the possibility that things are being confused or lumped together.”