August 21, 2011

ELL Group Files Brief in Alabama Immigration Case


ELL Group Files Brief in Ala. Immigration Case
By Mary Ann Zehr
August 8, 2011

An advocacy group for English-language learners has filed a "friend of the court" brief backing a class action that challenges Alabama's new law requiring educators to record the immigration status of students in schools. The Somerville, Mass.-based Multicultural Education, Training, and Advocacy, Inc., has filed the brief on its own behalf as well as for the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Hispanic College Fund, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

The new Alabama law, believed to be the first of its kind signed by a state governor, requires educators to report to Alabama's board of education whether students are undocumented or not. The law, known informally as H.B. 56, also requires police officers to make "a reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status of any person while making a "lawful stop, detention, or arrest."

Meanwhile, Alabama's department of education has released guidance for schools on how to respond to the new law by coding students whose parents produce a U.S. birth certificate with a "1" and students whose parents can't or refuse to show documents proving their children are legally in the country with a "0" beginning Sept. 1.

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