Published December 12, 2016
Arizona's tough immigration laws is now targeting students.
A new law is requiring that parents fill out new forms showing proof of residency for the upcoming school year.
The department says the forms were distributed to public schools in the fall and are based on a new law passed by the Legislature during the past session.
Tucson Unified School District Superintendent John Pedicone said the requirement will likely cause increased anxiety within the Latino community.
"When the law was proposed, we had some concerns," Pedicone said. "It's already difficult, especially with all of the other things going on in this state for many Hispanic families to trust that they're going to be safe when coming to events or getting engaged in our schools."
The district serves more than 31,000 Hispanic students and receives on average of $4,900 per student each year in state funding.
Currently, TUSD students are required to provide only proof of residency when enrolling in a new school. Under the Arizona Department of Education guidelines, that will have to be done annually.
Manuel L. Isquierdo, superintendent of the Sunnyside Unified School District, also expressed concerns.
"Our concern is that this is only designed to address the issue of undocumented families, and we're opposed to it," he said. "We will comply, but it's another example of policies or statutes that are unfriendly to Latino-serving districts."
Republican Sen. Steve Smith of Maricopa said the state Department of Education has documented examples of people coming over the border, going to school then returning to Mexico.
"If you are going to use our schools, then you should pay for it. I can't say it any more clearly than that," Smith said.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.