October 14, 2011
Statement by Randi Weingarten, President,
American Federation of Teachers,
On Federal Appeals Court Ruling Halting Parts of Alabama Immigration Law
11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta temporarily halts implementation of state provision requiring educators to monitor the immigration status of their students.
WASHINGTON—A federal appeals court in Atlanta demonstrated both wisdom and courage in its decision to temporarily halt two of the harshest provisions in Alabama's new immigration law until larger constitutional questions about the measure can be addressed. The court correctly blocked provisions of the law that allowed state and local officials to check the immigration status of students and made it a crime for unregistered immigrants not to have proper documentation.
Alabama's law is the most regressive immigration measure in the nation and already has done considerable damage to that state's children, families, schools and economy. Parents are afraid to drive their kids to school because they fear that something will happen to them due to this law and they won't be able to care for their children. Nobody wins when a law pushes children into the shadows of society. When it comes to children, teachers should be safety nets, not snitches. They should be guardians, not guards.
The Obama administration was right to vigorously challenge this unjust piece of legislation.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.