MAY 30, 2007
Besides the huge toll that illegal immigration has taken on public schools, Americans are also paying to educate thousands of Mexican children who cross the U.S. border daily to attend public schools.
The daily trek across the border is so common in El Paso Texas that a special lane was recently opened to facilitate the journey for the Mexican kids receiving their free U.S. taxpayer-funded educations. About 1,200 use the special lane daily and, although some attend private U.S. campuses, many go to public schools by fraudulently providing a local address. The situation is similar in other border states.
The extra load is taking a huge toll on the already-burdened public school districts along the U.S.-Mexico border. El Paso actually had to propose a $230 million bond, which passed earlier this month, for new schools because officials predict the district will have about 10,000 new students in the next few years. Many will make the daily journey from their Mexican homes.
Frustrated public school officials say there is no legal way for them to control the number of Mexican residents attending their campuses since all children whose guardians provide a utility bill or lease for an address within the school’s boundary must be allowed to enroll. They simply don’t have the resources to verify that the child actually lives at the address.
Indeed, the Supreme Court ruled in 1982 (Plyler v. Doe) that public schools cannot deny an education to children living in the country illegally as long as a parent or guardian could provide residency in the school district with a simple utility bill.
That ruling has cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars over the years. One report, using government statistics from the Department of Education, reveals that 1.5 million school-aged illegal immigrants and their 2 million U.S.-born siblings cost American taxpayers about $12 billion annually to educate. Not surprisingly, California and Texas spend the most–$7.7 million and $4 million respectively–to educate illegal immigrants. That doesn’t even include the daily border crossers who still live in Mexico.
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