Children bear the brunt of Alabama’s new immigration law

Here and Now

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There’s been an exodus of Latino immigrants from Alabama, after last week’s ruling by a federal judge upheld most of the state’s new immigration enforcement law. Undocumented residents are fleeing, in some cases even leaving behind fully furnished mobile homes and pets.

The law makes it illegal to enter into contracts with undocumented immigrants and requires police to check citizenship during traffic stops if they  have reason to believe someone is illegal.

The fear of deportation among undocumented immigrants is making its way into Alabama schools, which under the law now must request proof of citizenship from new students who enroll.

More than 22,000 Hispanic kids in Alabama stayed out of school on Monday.

Bill Lawrence, principal of Foley Elementary School in Foley, Alabama told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that after hearing about the new rules, many children arrived at school afraid.

“The students came in tears, running to their teachers and crying in fear. They’re afraid that their moms and dads would not be home when they got home. Many of them were almost in hysterics,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said as many as 45 children did not attend school that day, and dozens of parents are withdrawing their kids and fleeing. Most of his students are U.S. citizens, but many have parents who apparently are not.

The new law allows parents to be taken away and deported without letting them get their children, Lawrence asserts, and this is the fear that many of the kids are living under. “An American citizen should not come to school in fear,” he said. “These children are not learning, they’re not studying — all they’re thinking about is when are mom and dad coming home?”

Read more on the Here and Now website.


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