Although Plyler v. Doe guarantees the right to education for all (including illegal immigrants) in this country, an interesting battle is brewing in Frederick County, Maryland. The Board of County Commissioners in Frederick County has recently proposed a plan requiring schools to count the number of illegal immigrants enrolled in their schools. The hope is that Frederick County will be able to pass the costs on to the federal government for educating its illegal alien student population.
Last year, the Frederick County Commissioner presented the bill to the Maryland General Assembly. However, the Maryland General Assembly killed the proposal. In an effort to circumvent the Maryland state government, the county commissioners are proposing the bill as a “position statement” which if passed by the Maryland General Assembly wouldn’t make the proposal law, but would give counties in Maryland the authority to count students who are here illegally. In January, school board officials determined that the legal status of 1.6% of the students in Frederick County is unknown. The Maryland State Board of Education has continued to show its opposition to the moves of Frederick County officials by stating that the school board officials “have no valid purpose” for collecting the immigration status on students. The President of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners has stated “We are going to make Frederick County as unfriendly to illegal residents as possible. Let them go to Montgomery County.”
There is already wide spread criticism as states such as Alabama, Georgia, and Arizona attempt to implement their own laws to combat the issue of illegal immigration. However, the recent efforts of Frederick County is just a step too far. In Hines v. Davidowitz, the Supreme Court stated “the regulation of aliens is so intimately blended and intertwined with responsibilities of the national government that where it acts, and the state also acts on the same subject, the act of Congress or treaty is supreme; and the law of the state, though enacted in the exercise of powers not controverted, must yield to it.” Various efforts by states to pass their own immigration reform measures violates this position. But with an individual county seeking to drive out illegal immigrants, not only is an over-stepping of their power occurring, but it impacts the very future of immigrants to receive an education and become self-supporting in this country.
Danielle Beach-Oswald is the current President and Managing Partner of Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates in Washington, DC. Ms. Beach utilizes her 19 years of experience in immigration law to help individuals immigrate to the United States for humanitarian reasons. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Ms. Beach has lived in England, Belgium, Italy and Ivory Coast and has traveled extensively to many countries. Ms. Beach advocates for clients from around the world who seek freedom from torture in their country, or who are victims of domestic violence and trafficking. She has also represented her clients at U.S. Consulates in Romania, China, Canada, Mexico, and several African countries. With her extensive experience in family-based and employment-based immigration law Ms. Beach not only assists her clients in obtaining a better standard of living in the United States, she also helps employers obtain professional visas, and petitions for family members. She also handles many complex naturalization issues. Ms. Beach has unique expertise representing clients in immigration matters pending before the Federal District Courts, Circuit Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Courts. She has won over 400 humanitarian cases in the United States. Her firm's website is www.boilapc.com.