The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that part of Alabama’s immigration law was unconstitutional Monday. The provision ordered public schools to check the citizenship status of new students before enrollment. Judges said the provision wrongly singles out children who are in the country illegally, and that fear of the law “significantly deters undocumented children from enrolling in and attending school.”
The decision surprised some, as the same federal appeals court previously said that police in Alabama and Georgia can demand papers from criminal suspects they have detained. Alabama, however, was the only state to pass such a stringent requirement relating to public education, and the 11th Circuit had previously blocked enforcement of the same provision. Both private groups and the Obama administration filed lawsuits to block the law, which is considered the toughest in the country.