The legislation would require school districts and hospitals to collect and maintain data for research purposes. The information would then be compiled and published on the state board of education’s website and on the Department of Community Health’s website.
“People should not be afraid that seeking emergency care would result in deportation or other consequences,” said Azadeh Shahshahani of the American Civil Liberties Union. “We believe even requiring parents to report their children immigration status, that by itself would chill parents from seeking public education for their children.”
The legislative policy director for the Georgia Schools Board Association, Angela Palm, feels the bill would also keep children from getting a good education.
“There is a concern that when a parent brings a child to be enrolled, and the district says are you here legally or illegally, they would be inclined not to enroll their children,” Palm said. “I think it would leave schools in a difficult place facing legal challenges and distract them from what their purpose is and that is to educate every child that shows up.”
“This is a way to tell the taxpayers what they are spending on illegal immigrants,” said Clark. “What are the figures? Nobody really has entirely accurate figures. We are not trying to make them immigration enforcers simply when they register their child or go to a hospital. We should know we are actually gathering that information. We’ll simply keep track of that.”