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Politics

Florida Schools Monitoring for Hispanics from Alabama

October 9, 2011 - 6:00pm

A number of school districts across Florida have been advised to monitor enrollment numbers for Hispanic migrant families relocating from Alabama after a federal judge upheld that state's new immigration enforcement law.

Members of Floridas Education Estimating Conference said so far they havent seen any influx in the counties bordering Alabama or in counties such as Osceola, Hardee and Volusia where migrant families may seek agriculture employment.

Ram Krishnan, conference education policy consultant, said because reports indicate families are leaving Alabama for a variety of places, and the total number of students withdrawn from class isless than 2,000, any increase to Florida would be a trickle.

On Sept. 28, Birmingham-based U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn backed the immigration law that allows state and local police to ask for residency papers during routine traffic stops and renders most contracts with illegal immigrants unenforceable.

The law, which went into place Oct. 1, also requires schools to find out for certain the immigration status of children when they register.

The last provision is what reportedly caused many parents in Alabama to pull their children from school on Oct. 1, even though nothing was expected to change for students already enrolled.

Alabama Department of Education stated that on Oct 3, 5 percent of the states Hispanic students didnt show up for school.

Reports from national media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and FOX News, say the families had dispersed to Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, Oregon, Florida, Arkansas and Mexico -- anywhere where migrant families could find work.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has called the law the strongest immigration law in this country.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859 or (772) 215-9889.

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