HS News Network
U.S. Court of Appeals Blocks Key provisions of Alabama and Georgia Anti-Immigrant Laws
Photo: Anti Immigration Laws
Commission Chairman Martin R. Castro, along with Commissioners Roberta Achtenberg, David Kladney and Michael Yaki* applaud the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit which blocks key provisions of Alabama and Georgia’s anti-immigrant laws from taking effect. Monday’s ruling appropriately barred the State of Alabama from requiring schools to verify the immigration status of newly enrolled K – 12 students and held that such immigration verification violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The concerns expressed by witnesses during the Commission’s Birmingham, Alabama briefing on the Civil Rights Implications of State Immigration laws, which took place on Friday, August 20, underscore the appropriateness of this ruling. The Court of Appeals also properly sustained the District Court’s injunction of Georgia’s HB 87 that would have made it illegal to assist, transport or shelter an undocumented person.
“To us there has never been any doubt that the Alabama law’s provision requiring schools to verify the immigration status of school children was unconstitutional. This provision of the law was a thinly veiled attempt to strike fear into the hearts of immigrant and Latino families and chill their seeking a public primary and secondary education for their children, as is their right. As we heard at our Birmingham briefing just a few days ago, many undocumented students have not registered for this school year for fear of the law—a clear violation of the Constitution and a bar to the first step in achieving the American Dream—an education,” said Chairman Castro.
Chairman Castro further stated, “While we are pleased that Alabama students will be able to start the new school year without fear that they will be questioned about their immigration status, and that Georgians will be able to accompany and assist their undocumented friends and family without fear of arrest, we are still concerned over the potential ramifications of the ‘show me your papers’ provisions of Alabama’s HB 56 and Georgia’s HB 87. As we learned from witnesses during our Birmingham briefing, and as indicated by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, these provisions could lead to racial profiling. For these reasons, we hope these provisions are challenged anew in the near future.”
“I am happy that the Eleventh Circuit has cleared the way to the schoolhouse doors for all of Alabama’s children without regard to their immigration statuses or those of their parents. It is my fervent wish that these rulings help to quickly calm the tides of fear and instability which Alabama’s HB 56 and Georgia’s HB 87 have caused to wash over families which contribute to the fabric – and to the economy – of this country,” stated Commissioner Roberta Achtenberg.
“We hope that any states contemplating wasting their resources with similar legislation focus instead on helping immigrant families, rather than using tactics to intimidate and oppress them,” stated Commissioner Michael Yaki.