Alabama Schools Not Allowed to Check Immigration Status

Last Updated: August 28, 2012

This article appeared in the August 2012 Rural Policy Matters.

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One of the more controversial elements of Alabama’s sweeping immigration law, passed last year, was the requirement that schools check the immigration status of all new students and their parents and report a tally of the number of students whose families lacked immigration or citizenship documents.

That provision along with several others was immediately challenged in federal court and an injunction was issued barring enforcement of the school provision until a determination was made on its legality.

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit issued three decisions on immigration laws in Alabama and Georgia. In those decisions, the Court held that schools could not be required to demand documents from students or their families.

Alabama’s immigration law is widely considered the most far-reaching in the country and is the only law that attempted to engage schools in determining the immigration status of residents.

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