Here is my letter that was posted in the Montgomery Advertiser to set the record straight about Alabama’s HB 56 immigration law.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Gov. Robert Bentley supports changes to Alabama’s immigration enforcement law, HB 56, because he is uncomfortable with children being asked about their parents immigration status (“Immigration bill carried over in committee,” May 18). Fortunately, the governor has nothing to worry about. Children should never be asked about their parents’ immigration status and there is nothing in HB 56 that requires, or even allows for that to occur.

HB 56 requires that school administrators make an effort to determine the citizenship status of the children they educate. If the information is not provided voluntarily by the parents, the administrators are required to make certain presumptions. At no time in the process are the children themselves involved, nor are the children denied the same education as their citizen peers.

Moreover, the requirements of HB 56 are entirely consistent with the role of school administrators. School districts collect all sorts of data about the children they are educating. This information is critical to planning, budgeting and allocation of resources.

The people of Alabama have a legitimate need to know who is in their schools and the impact of immigration on education in the state. Opponents of HB 56 would clearly prefer that they not know and are seeking to misrepresent what is in the law.

Dan Stein

president, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)