Opinion: Illegal Students Deserve an Education Too

Marion Herbert's picture
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

After an Alabama judge ruled that students’ immigration statuses must be verified in order to attend school, thousands of Hispanic families have fled from the state. This outrageous law must go.

It marks a shameful decision in U.S. history, and it has already caused sweeping damage to communities throughout the state.

The law goes beyond just political quarrels; it has changed the course of human lives. Children are being pulled out of school, out of their homes and neighborhoods, and trekked to anywhere but Alabama. Superintendents around the state have noticed attendance of Hispanic students is down about 5 percent already.

An education is crucial to one’s success in life, and stripping that necessity from children — solely because of their original home — is heresy. The U.S. is meant to be a place that values education and human rights, not exclusion and discrimination.

Meanwhile, California recently passed the DREAM Act, which allows illegal immigrants to receive state and institutional financial aid at universities in the state. This is a far better approach to the intersection of immigration and education. Whereas Alabama is driving people from its state through counterproductive and heartless legislation, California is treating all of its residents like the members of their community and contributors to society that they are.

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