One part of Alabama's new law regarding illegal immigrants has federal officials especially upset. It requires schools to report to the state the number - but not names - of students whose immigration status is in question.
That prompted the Justice Department to get a federal court order prohibiting the reports. Federal law bans denying public education to anyone based on immigration status.
Again, however, Alabama isn't trying to do that. It has merely requested information, presumably to gauge the seriousness of the illegal immigration problem in the state.
But the Justice Department's campaign against Alabama has taken a new twist: Now, the federal agency is demanding Alabama school districts provide it with enrollment information about all students. The data is to include students' race, national origin and whether English is their primary language.
As an Alabama legislator put it, "They are asking for the same student information we tried to get."
Well, not exactly. The Justice Department also wants the names of students who have withdrawn from school.
Illegal immigrants in Alabama are far more likely to be scared by the federal initiative than by the state's action. But that is merely one more example of President Barack Obama's penchant for bullying state governments solely to demonstrate Washington's power.