The Arizona School Boards Association applauds the decision of Governor Ducey and Legislative leadership to cease consideration of divisive legislation to place an immigration-related amendment to the Arizona Constitution before the voters this November. These measures, SCR1007 and HCR2036, are intended to prohibit political subdivisions of the state from restricting law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
Arizona’s public school districts have an obligation under the Arizona Constitution and established federal law to provide a free public education to any student who is a resident of our state, regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or immigration status. As political subdivisions of the state governed by locally elected governing boards, we take our obligation to educate each one of Arizona’s 1.1 million public school students extremely seriously.
While current Arizona law enacted under SB1070 prohibits so-called “sanctuary cities” from shielding undocumented persons from federal officials, SCR1007 and HCR2036 would have gone further by prohibiting any political subdivision of the state, including school districts, from restricting any law enforcement entity from collaborating with federal authorities to determine a person’s immigration status.
While existing federal law in this area is clear that school districts are not to question students on immigration status, SCR1007/HCR2036 would have needlessly subjected Arizona’s schools to frivolous challenges under the state constitution from those who do not share our sense of obligation to all students.
In order to learn, students must believe and trust that they will be safe at school. Policies such as SCR1007 and HCR2036 would break that trust, creating a new round of fear that will keep students away from school, impacting their ability to learn, and their ability to grow into adults that will help move our great state forward.
Moreover, in order for students to be successful in school, there must be a high degree of parental involvement. ASBA strongly fears that SCR1007/HCR2036 would diminish parental interaction at school – with teachers and other school authorities — for fear of legal exposure. This would, in turn, diminish the child’s educational experience and success.
The Arizona School Boards Association stands opposed to policies such as SCR1007 and HCR2036, and is grateful this controversy will not continue this Legislative session. We urge our elected leaders to concentrate on continuing the work of improving public education for all students, which is certain to make Arizona a better place to live for all of us.