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School Provision of Ala. Anti-Immigrant Law Gutted in Legal Settlement

Alabama state officials last week agreed not to enforce several key provisions of the state's anti-immigration law passed in 2011, including one that required school districts to ask new students to show proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status when they enroll.

That agreement is part of a settlement with a number of civil rights groups that challenged the Alabama law, believed to be the most stringent of a wave of anti-immigration laws passed by states in recent years. State officials also agreed not to enforce a provision that banned undocumented immigrants from seeking employment and to block the ability of the policy to detain someone solely for the purpose of checking their immigration status.

The mandate related to school district officials inquiring about students' immigration status had already been on hold since early 2012. After the law first took effect in late 2011, school districts around the state reported losing large numbers of students, whose undocumented parents either left the state completely or feared that sending their children to school would mean educators would report them to law enforcement. I profiled one elementary school in Baldwin County where the principal and staff members scrambled to support their immigrant community after the law's passage.

The state is pursuing a similar settlement with with the U.S. Department of Justice, which also challenged the law. Both settlements must still be approved by the federal courts, according to the Birmingham News.

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