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Arizona students must prove they are legal residents to go to school

Lawmaker says students from Mexico crossing the border to go to U.S. public schools

A sign welcoming visitors from New Mexico into Arizona.  Photo by Wing-Chi Poon

A sign welcoming visitors from New Mexico into Arizona. Photo by Wing-Chi Poon

A new law in Arizona states that parents of school students K-12 must fill out a new form each year to prove they are living in the state legally.

They were reports that students were seen crossing the border from Mexico into the United States and boarding school buses to go to school.

Superintendent John Pedicone of the Tucson School district had this to say about the new law:

“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.

“We will continue to work to assure them that they are safe, but no matter how hard we try to guarantee that, something like this further exacerbates that fear.”

Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, who sponsored the legislation – SB 1141 – says there are “documented examples of people coming over the border, getting on our school buses, going to school and then going back home to Mexico.”

“I don’t think we should use our tax dollars to pay for people who are not supposed to be here. I don’t think our tax dollars should be going to educate citizens who are not of this country. This is all on our dime. Taxpayer money should go to taxpayer children – taxpayer citizens…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.

If parents cannot prove they are in the state legally by proof of address, they must show proof of address for the person they are living with.

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