FOLEY, Alabama — Many of the 223 Hispanic students at Foley Elementary came to school Thursday crying and afraid, said Principal Bill Lawrence.
Nineteen of them withdrew, and another 39 were absent, Lawrence said, the day after a federal judge upheld much of Alabama’s strict new immigration law, which authorizes law enforcement to detain people suspected of not being U.S. citizens and requires schools to ask new enrollees for a copy of their birth certificate.
Even more of the students — who are U.S. citizens by birth, but their parents may not be — were expected to leave the state over the weekend, Lawrence said.
“It’s been a challenging day, an emotional day. My children have been in tears today. They’re afraid,” he said. “We have been in crisis-management mode, trying to help our children get over this.”
Foley Elementary has the area’s largest percentage of Hispanic students, about 20 percent of its student body.
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