Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Michigan may withhold funding from schools that educate undocumented immigrants

The Michigan House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Jase Bolger, has decided through its recently passed school aid budget that public schools will now be required to "police" whether or not an immigrant is here legally.

House Bill 4228 (H-1) includes Section 41 (see page 136) stating:

[SEC. 41. (1) FROM THE APPROPRIATION IN SECTION 11, THERE IS ALLOCATED AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $1,300,000.00 FOR 2013-2014 TO APPLICANT DISTRICTS AND INTERMEDIATE DISTRICTS OFFERING PROGRAMS OF INSTRUCTION FOR PUPILS OF LIMITED ENGLISH-SPEAKING ABILITY UNDER SECTION 1153 OF THE REVISED SCHOOL CODE, MCL 380.1153. SUBJECT TO SUBSECTION (2), REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE ON A PER-PUPIL BASIS AND SHALL BE BASED ON THE NUMBER OF PUPILS OF LIMITED ENGLISH-SPEAKING ABILITY IN MEMBERSHIP ON THE PUPIL MEMBERSHIP COUNT DAY. FUNDS ALLOCATED UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE USED SOLELY FOR INSTRUCTION IN SPEAKING, READING, WRITING, OR COMPREHENSION OF ENGLISH. A PUPIL SHALL NOT BE COUNTED UNDER THIS SECTION OR INSTRUCTED IN A PROGRAM UNDER THIS SECTION FOR MORE THAN 3 YEARS. (2) A DISTRICT OR INTERMEDIATE DISTRICT SHALL NOT RECEIVE FUNDS UNDER THIS SECTION IF IT ALLOWS PUPILS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM OF INSTRUCTION WHO ARE NOT RESIDING IN THE UNITED STATES LEGALLY.] (emphasis added)

This in effect places local public school officials in the position of acting as INS agents to determine whether an immigrant is documented as a legal resident. To not do so would jeopardize funding. Interestingly, none of the other funds received by a school district would be effected by this new statute so what is the real purpose here and who actually is behind this? Should public school officials be acting as federal agents?