Phoenix students march to state Capitol to protest SB 1611

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by Jennifer Thomas

azfamily.com

Posted on March 4, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 4 at 5:16 PM

PHOENIX -- Close to 200 Phoenix high school students walked out of class Friday morning and marched to the state Capitol to protest a bill meant to step up the fight against illegal immigration.

Students from Maryvale, Trevor G. Browne, Metro Tech and North high schools headed downtown to protest Senate Bill 1611, which would require school districts to verify the legal status of any students attending public schools.

The students reportedly text-messaged each other and at a pre-determined hour left their schools to converge at the Capitol. Many of the students carried signs that read "We Have Rights."

The administration at Carl Hayden High School held an assembly in order to keep students on campus and safe. 3TV reporter Frank Camacho said school officials talked to the students about the issues raised by the various pieces of legislation.

SB1611, titled "Immigration Omnibus," would tighten identification requirements for enrollment in public schools and other public services.

Under a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision, schools are not allowed to turn away students who cannot prove they are legal residents. SB 1611 addresses reporting requirements, mandating that the immigration-status question be asked.

Some say that would prompt parents of children who are here illegally to withdraw them from school.

Right now, parents only have to provide prove of a child's age. A certified copy of a birth certificate is the most common way to do this, but it does not have to be a U.S. birth certificate.

Schools have to report parents who fail to provide such proof of age. SB 1611 would change the list of acceptable documents to specify that they be issued by the U.S. -- a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S. passport or a certificate of naturalization, among others. That means schools would have to report parents using other documents.

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