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Immigration law hits schools

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.

“We cannot and we will not deny a child an education,” said Demopolis Superintendent of Education Dr. Al Griffin. “This is simply a change in the way we ask for registration when a new student enrolls.”

Griffin 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.

“If they don’t have a birth certificate, we would write a letter requesting supplemental documentation,” Griffin said, “but the child is enrolled in school. We’ll take them when they come.”

Griffin said that if parents failed to provide any official citizenship documentation for the child after a predetermined length of time – likely 30 days – system administrators would simply acknowledge in the computer system that no documentation was provided.

“But the child remains enrolled regardless,” he said.