Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice Thomas Perez is concerned that Alabama’s immigration law is affecting the education of Hispanic students in the state negatively. The law, which has been reported as one of the toughest in the country, allows officials to request proof of U.S. citizenship at any given time if they suspect a person might be living in the country illegally.
“(The law has) diminished access to and quality of education for many of Alabama’s Hispanic children, resulted in missed school days, chilled or prevented the participation of parents in their children’s education, and transformed the climates of some schools into less safe and welcoming spaces for Hispanic children,” Perez wrote in a letter to Alabama’s Superintendent of Education Thomas Bice on May 3.
According to CNN, Perez argues in the letter the amount of absences among Hispanic students in Alabama has tripled since the law was implemented, whereas non-Hispanic students’ absence rate remained consistent. In addition to the absence spike, the drop-out rate increased by 13.4 percent among Hispanic students, the source reported.
Perez also highlighted a well-known Supreme Court decision, Plyler v. Doe, which asserts that a state cannot deny a child access to public education based on their immigration status or citizenship.
While several supporters of the immigration law have spoken out toward revising the vague parts of the legislation, Todd Stacy, a spokesman to House Speaker Mike Hubbard, said there will never be a revision, according to CNN.
“Make no mistake, the legislature is not going to repeal this law and have Alabama become a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants,” Stacy said.