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Probe Launched into Possible Discrimination Against AZ Teachers

The US Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education have reportedly launched a probe into whether the state has discriminated against non-native English speaking teachers. According to the Associated Press, the state’s education department began encouraging school districts to lay off teachers who are not fully proficient in English grammar or who lack basic English language skills in April 2010. Arizona has been monitoring the English fluency of its teachers for years. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said “I’m sure they’re going to find everything is fine…Teachers who are teaching English need to be fluent in English, and if kids can understand what they’re saying, it’s not an issue,” reported the Associated Press. The DOJ also filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Maricopa Community College District in Arizona in August. The suit is based off of an 18-month DOJ probe that revealed “a pattern or practice of discrimination” by Maricopa, which required approximately 250 job applicants that were not US citizens to present documentation, including green cards, beyond what federal law requires. The suit was filed on behalf of Zainul Singaporewalla, a permanent resident who had a job offer from Maricopa withdrawn after he failed to present his green card. Singaporewalla had already presented all paperwork that is required by federal law, including his driver’s license and social security card. The suit is seeking that the college pay a civil penalty of $1,100 per applicant affected. The DOJ also has a lawsuit pending against the state of Arizona’s new immigration law. DOJ filed this lawsuit in July on the grounds that Arizona’s new immigration law illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives and violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which states that federal law trumps state statutes, legally referred to as “preemption.” The law in question would allow law enforcement officials in Arizona to request proof of legal immigration, residency, or citizenship of anyone they suspect might be an illegal immigrant. A DOJ brief in the case argues that “Arizona’s immigration policy exceeds a state’s role with respect to aliens, interferes with the federal government’s balanced administration of the immigration laws, and critically undermines US foreign policy objectives.”

Sources:

Associated Press 9/8/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/31/10

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