The State Board of Education will be required to show the amount of money it spends to educate illegal and undocumented students each year if HB 296 passes. Required information would include, teacher student ratio, the number of students who are illegal or undocumented in each school district and expenditure per-illegal or undocumented student per year. The cost will then be factored into the state budget before it’s presented to the State House and Senate appropriations committees.
The same requirements would also extend to hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities.
Legal analysts point out that the constitutionality of the bill may be called in question due to a Supreme Court Ruling in 1982. In Plyler v. Doe the high court ruled that denying illegal immigrants or undocumented students an education was in violation of the 14th Amendment.
Observers also say that passage of HB 296 could also discourage students who may be illegal or cannot prove their citizenship to enroll in school.
Azadeh Shahshahani, an official from the American Civil Liberties Union lashed out at the legislation, telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the bill is a “reprehensible attempt to turn teachers and doctors into immigration agents.”
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Josh Clark, a Republican from Buford, defended the measure, however, telling the AJC there is currently no accurate way to measure the cost of illegal immigration in Georgia.
“With this information, we would have a legitimate argument to require the federal government to fulfill their duty to seal our borders or risk lawsuits from states over actual cost inflicted due to their negligence.”