Meddling in the affairs of States Rights

In its relentless quest to prevent state and local officials from enforcing immigration laws, the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week sent another letter of intimidation to the Alabama State Department of Education. In the letter, Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez drops a thinly veiled threat of litigation to persuade Alabama officials to back away from its immigration enforcement law, HB 56, and specifically the provision that requires schools to collect immigration data on its students.

We hope that just once the Justice Department (DOJ) rather than spending energy on matters they’re out of control on – to matters that need far more immediate assistance; then and only then will we give the proverbial white flag of surrender. Why are they not instituting reform issues? Rather, they continue to guard the Brotherhood of Muslims as well as engage everything that remotely and narrowly is described as discrimination; especially with Islam backed groups.

To-date, Perez writes, the DOJ investigation shows that “H.B. 56 has had significant and measurable impacts on Alabama’s school children.” These impacts, Perez states, have weighed most heavily on Hispanic and English language learner students.

Perez states these findings are based on local school data and anecdotal evidence. The local school data, which Perez says raises “significant concern,” shows that between the start of the school year and February 2012, 13.4 percent of Alabama’s Hispanic schoolchildren withdrew from school.

Now seriously to conclude that this withdraw is happening because of a language component is unrealistic with the absence of data to support such a claim. Now then — Remarkably, however, Perez appears unable to explain whether those school children re-enrolled in the same school district, re-enrolled in another Alabama school district, or left the state. He also does not specify what the normal withdrawal rate is in any given year to provide context.

Perez cites no other data given to him by the Alabama Department of Education to support his conclusions. Instead, he writes that anecdotal evidence backs up his claim that HB 56 is unlawfully impacting Hispanics residing in Alabama.

This letter from the DOJ to the Alabama Department of Education is not the first. In November 2011, Perez sent a letter to Alabama demanding its schools provide data about student absenteeism since the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.

We certainly do not want to sound insensitive; however, this is the same mentality that has been going on at the Justice Department since the “Hope and Change” Administration took office. Ask yourselves this easy question: With what Tony Perez is advocating through unscientific research and then writing thinly veiled threats is very reminiscent of Fast & Furious.

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