FOLEY, Ala. (WALA) - One portion of the new immigration law that was upheld requires public schools to verify students' immigration status. Principal Bill Lawrence in Foley is waiting for word from the Baldwin County superintendent to start enforcement.
Lawrence sees a different side of the immigration debate. He sees students who were born in the United States but with parents in the country illegally.
At Foley Elementary, there are more than 200 Hispanic families. Lawrence said some parents have already left, and more will follow now that the law has been upheld.
A woman who translates for the Hispanic population in Foley told FOX10 since the law was brought up, the community has been in fear.
"These families live in fear day by day, every time they leave their house," she said.
This woman is an American citizen, but the new immigration law has put an added burden in her lap. Tuesday night, lawyers met with the Hispanic community to offer guidance and to explain the law.
"In the process of getting protection for their children in a worse case scenario, they have to write over guardianship to a legal U.S. citizen so their children will not be taken into protective custody or abandoned. That night, I signed seven different families' papers with multiple children," she said.
Lawrence said Hispanics make up more than 20 percent of his school. Most of the students are United States citizens, but some of their parents are not. The school's concern is what happens to the children if their parents get deported.
"What this law is going to do is separate the children from their parents if they get pulled over, and that's our worry and our concern," said Lawrence.
Linda Harris is an English as a Second Language teacher at Foley Elementary. She said because of this fear, many of the desks will be empty.
"As they were leaving today - I heard about the immigration law - and it broke my heart to see them walk out the door and think that I might not see them again. That broke my heart because they are children who I have a relationship with. They are real live human beings. They are not characters in a play," said Harris.
The law will require all new enrollees to show a United States birth certificate. If they can't, the school can still enroll them, but it must make note of their status. What happens with that data is out of the school's hands.
Lawrence and Harris are going to keep teaching, but they can't guarantee the fate of their students. This is what worries the translator who spoke to FOX10.
"Coming home tonight, a lot of these kids as young as they are shouldn't have to understand the situation its like this has become where everyone has to go into hiding and the children wont get what they deserve as an education and an innocent childhood," she said.
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