Goddard to have say on migrant education
March 28, 2007
Dianna M. Náñez
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said his office will issue an opinion
next week that should determine how Proposition 300 affects undocumented
immigrants enrolled in adult-education classes in public schools.
A group of about 50 students, educators and community members was at
Chandler-Gilbert Community College on Tuesday to hear Goddard explain how
Proposition 300 and other propositions become law in Arizona.
Among the provisions in the voter-approved initiative, which passed in November,
is the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from state-funded English, GED and
other adult-education programs. The law also prevents undocumented students from
receiving state-funded college scholarships, in-state college tuition and
requires university and public schools to report the number of people who are
denied access because they are not legal residents. While answering questions,
Goddard referred to a federal law that prohibits public schools from inquiring
about a student's citizenship.
"Adult education is considered primary and secondary education. . . .
Providers of that (education) may not inquire (about) citizenship," he said,
adding that federal law supersedes state law.
Goddard said he knows of two initiatives that are being drafted for the 2008
ballot that would focus on the authority of state officials to support federal
immigration law and the obligation of citizens to report illegal immigrants.
Azra Mahmood of Gilbert, after hearing that Arizona led the nation last year
with 19 ballot initiatives, said she fears the process may be skewed to benefit
those with the financial or networking resources to support costly and lengthy