Olivas on Alabama's new immigration law

Prof. M. OlivasShould schools help catch undocumented immigrants?

University of Houston Law Center Professor Michael A. Olivas is participating in this week's Room for Debate, a weekly online debate hosted by the New York Times. The debate addresses Alabama's new immigration enforcement law which, among other measures, requires schools to check the immigration status of students at the time of registration although federal law requires public schools to provide K-12 education to illegal immigrants.

Since the Sept. 28 decision by a federal judge in Birmingham to uphold most provisions of the legislation, school officials have noticed an increased number of absences from Hispanic school children. On Sept. 30, approximately 2000 of the state's Hispanic students were absent from schools, according to the New York Times.

Does the new law violate the 1982 Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe which found that it was unconstitutional to deny children living in the U.S., whether legally or not, a free public elementary and secondary education? Is there a better way to handle illegal immigration? The author of "No Undocumented Child Left Behind," Olivas is the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law and the director of the Institute of Higher Education Law & Governance at the Law Center. He is also President of the Association of American Law Schools. Olivas will deliver a presentation entitled "Dreams Deferred: Deferred Action, Discretion, and the Vexing Case(s) of DREAM Act Students" at Pomona College on October 10.

To read Olivas' comments in the New York Times, click here.

To schedule an interview with Michael A. Olivas, please contact: Carrie Criado, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, cacriado@Central.UH.EDU, 713.743.2184; or John Kling, Communications Manager, jtkling@central.uh.edu , 713.743.8298.