Alabama's new immigration law requires public schools to document the legal status of children upon enrollment. As a result, many immigrant families are withdrawing their children from school.
Hispanic students did not show up for school in noticeable numbers Thursday and Friday in Alabama following a federal judge’s ruling Wednesday that upheld several provisions of a harsh state law restricting illegal immigration in the state.
The absence of Hispanic students has many education leaders worried that immigrant families are withdrawing their children from school to prevent state authorities from looking into their legal status.
The Pew Hispanic Center says the number of illegal immigrants in Alabama rose 380 percent between 2000-2010, from 25,000 to 120,000, and that illegals represent 2.5 percent of the total state population today.
According to the Associated Press, students in several districts with large immigrant enrollments experienced a drop in attendance by Hispanic students. While numbers are not yet available statewide, the shift was noticeable enough for Casey Wardynski, the public school superintendent of Huntsville, to make an appearance on local Spanish-language television Thursday to explain the new state law and assure parents they “do not have anything to fear.”