The Alabama immigration law passed recently caused many Hispanic students to cry, while others missed class. Could the controversial law separate families with deportation, and lead to racial profiling?
It's one of the toughest issues Republican candidates Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and others will have to face during their campaign for president in the 2012 elections. The principal of Foley Elementary School had this to say about the controversial ruling:
"It's been a challenging day, an emotional day. My children have been in tears today. They're afraid," he said. "We have been in crisis-management mode, trying to help our children get over this," said Bill Lawrence.
According to the Huffington Post, a federal judge ruled in favor of the new Alabama immigration law that targets those who are not in this country legally.
It upheld the law that mandates by September 1, all schools are required to check the residency status of incoming new students. This requires they ask for proof of a certified birth certificate.
If a person cannot show proof, they have only 30-days before their names are entered into a state-wide data base that flags their immigration status.
And while some vital records departments are efficient, others take months to produce a birth certificate, even for legal residents. One month just doesnt' seem long enough.
Nonetheless,the action by the federal judge was enough to strike fear in many Hispanics today. Lawrence said of the 223 students enrolled, 39 did not report for class, and the others were crying.
In the Hispanic and Latino communities, people are under the belief that they will be deported or separated from their families. What's more, there is a rising fear of racial profiling just because someone looks like they are not a native-born American.
"There is some fear out there," though, he said. "There are probably a few families that will leave," said school Superintendent Roy Nichols on the new Alabama immigration law.
The good news is that federal law, until amended, is pro-families, and protects children already enrolled in school without regard to their immigration status.
It's important for families and children to understand that the law does not target students already enrolled. However, those who attempted to enroll after September 1, must give proof of residency and immigration status.
To the school's credit, they are not "policing" their student body, and are only required to enter names into the computer. Still, it creates somewhat of an adversarial situation that clouds the relationship between educational institutions and students.
Do you think the new Alabama immigration law goes too far, and creates a slippery slope for racial profiling?