Georgia schools may suffer from new immigration laws
Summer’s here and so is the implementation of new immigration legislation that may have a potentially devastating effect on Georgia schools.
The new measures, which have been branded as some of the harshest immigration measures in the nation, was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal and is set to take effect on July 1. The law would allow law enforcement officers to question individuals about their immigration status if they are suspected criminals and would also give officers the authority arrest those who cannot provide proper documentation. Federal officials would then be allowed to move forward with the deportation process. Also included in the legislation are measures to deter individuals and businesses from housing or hiring illegal immigrants.
Currently, the state of Georgia ranks seventh in illegal immigrant population with an estimated 425,000 undocumented civilians.
Concerns over how this new law will affect state schools are now up the air as many believe the new law may cause many undocumented civilians to flee the state with their children. While the law would prevent individuals from inquiring about a child’s immigration status, other types of state record keeping may indicate larger potential locations for targeting undocumented civilians.
In his article, Jeremy Redmon of the Atlantic Journal Constitution stated that “the state does track students who receive special English language lessons” and went on to indicate that out of the 82,112 recipients of this service, 42,581 of these students could be found in Atlanta-area schools.
Fluctuations in student population in schools can affect a wide array of issues, including school staffing and state and federal funding levels for each student, so many school officials are stepping up to monitor their enrollment numbers. Other concerns speak to how the school systems of neighboring states will be impacted by potential student population increases and whether or not they will have the funds and infrastructure to support students with special language needs.
Schools will not be the only entity that is greatly impacted by the new laws. Challenges will arise for businesses and farms as well.
As a long-term advocate for nurturing the South through smart economic development and education advancements, the Center for a Better South calls upon all southern states that are currently working to address their immigration regulation needs to consider the impact that their current legislation will have on their already impoverished communities, economic potential, high school drop-out rates as well as literacy and unemployment rates. As indicated in our agenda:
To compete in a 21st century global economy, each Southern state must increase its high school graduation rate and have 60 percent of native Southerners and new residents with post-secondary degrees, including associates’ degrees from technical colleges, by 2020.
More: The international benchmark for competitiveness is for a nation to have 55 percent of its adult citizens with at least an associate’s degree, according to a 2007 report by the National Council on Adult Literacy, “Mounting Pressures Facing the U.S. Workforce and the Increasing Need for Adult Education and Literacy.” The group at Davidson strongly believed that for the South to compete actively in the global economy, it was important for Southern states to set a goal of better than the international benchmark for post-secondary education, including associates’ degrees, advanced technical education, college degrees and post-graduate degrees.
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