Ala. can't ask student immigration status

Aug. 21, 2012 at 8:40 AM

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court has struck down part of Alabama's immigration law requiring public schools to check the immigration status of students.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that singling out children who were in the country illegally violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser reported Tuesday.

The judges said that portion of Alabama's law "significantly deters undocumented children from enrolling in and attending school."

At the same time, the appeals court affirmed provisions allowing law enforcement to check the status of those they had "reasonable suspicion" of being in the country illegally and requiring law enforcement to check the status of those driving without a license.

The justices sided with opponents on sections of the law that make it unlawful to harbor illegal immigrants and a crime for immigrants to seek work.

They said a provision making contracts signed with undocumented immigrants unlawful had a goal of "forcing undocumented individuals out of Alabama."

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