The new immigration enforcement package in Alabama has not even gone into force yet, but it is working great already. Illegal aliens are fleeing the state in anticipation of increased enforcement. The same thing has happened in many other states in the past.
Education officials say scores of immigrant families have withdrawn their children from classes or kept them home this week, afraid that sending the kids to school would draw attention from authorities.
There are no precise statewide numbers. But several districts with large immigrant enrollments — from small towns to large urban districts — reported a sudden exodus of children from Hispanic families, some of whom told officials they would leave the state to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check students’ immigration status.
In Russellville, which has one of the largest immigrant populations in the state because of its poultry plants, overall school attendance was down more than 2 percent after the ruling, and the rate was higher among Hispanic students.
There’s “no firm data yet, but several students have related to their teachers that they may be moving soon,” said George Harper, who works in the central office.
Schools in Baldwin County, a heavily agricultural and tourist area near the Gulf Coast, and in Decatur in the Tennessee Valley also reported sudden decreases in Hispanic attendance.