The only way I can start this post is by asking you to sign the petition. Go on, sign it. This is something that’s just plain wrong.

HB 744 does something despicable: it attacks undocumented children. Before enrolling (which means we’re often talking about little, little kids), parents have to present school officials with information on the immigration status of the child. While the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Dale Folwell from Forsyth County, NC claims that it is meant for the sole purpose of determining the amount spent on undocumented youth, everybody knows this is meant to discourage children from being enrolled. It’s so obvious that even he let the cat out of the bag when he spoke to the Winston-Salem Journal:

Folwell said, however, that policies must change to prevent illegal immigrants from choosing North Carolina as their home.

“The main thing I want is to answer the question: What policies are there at the state level that are making North Carolina a magnet for illegal immigration?” Folwell said. “I want to demagnetize this state.”

This was the sixth time Folwell has introduced the bill in the four terms he has served in the state General Assembly.

The only way this bill would “demagnetize” the state is if it scares people away, making it pretty clear that Folwell is trying to find a way around Plyler v. Doe. Under Plyler, public school systems are required to educate students irrespective of their immigration status. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice sent out a strongly worded letter reminding state and local educational agencies of their obligation to educate everyone who walks into their classroom. Instead of trying to kick them out, Folwell and his gang of foamed-mouth restrictionists are trying to find a way to make sure they don’t walk in at all.

What makes this even more shameful is that the following day, NC Republicans read another “restrictionist” bill, HB 36, which expands the use of E-Verify in the state. However, while all of Folwell’s vitriol toward children counts as “getting tough” on immigration, supporters of HB 36 completely rolled over when it came time to get tough on farm labor. It’s easy to “get tough” on school children behind whom no moneyed interests lie, but when you might be looking for handouts from the farm lobby in just a few months’ time, your compassion can be bought.

If you haven’t signed the petition by now, please do. We need you here in the South.