SEPTEMBER 11, 2014
Media hype surrounding the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant minors who recently entered the U.S. through Mexico has dwindled, but the impact will be long-lasting and costly for American taxpayers who are forced to house, feed and educate them in public schools around the country.
Among the largest expenses will be education and the feds aren’t likely to help out, instead sticking it to overwhelmed state governments that have no say in the matter. So far 37,472 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) are living throughout the nation and states will spend an astounding $761 million a year to educate them in public schools, according to a new study conducted by a nonprofit that examines immigration trends and effects.
This includes special Limited English Proficient (LEP) classes conducted in Spanish or in other indigenous Central American languages as well as free school meals for the new arrivals. In many cases the UACs have very little education, making the task all the more difficult. Texas and New York will get hit the hardest, the study reveals. Texas has the most UACs—5,280—and it will cost $78 million a year to educate them, the figures show. New York has less—4,244—but will spend more, $148 million, because evidently it’s more expensive to school kids in the state.
The bottom line remains that public education is funded by states and they are getting slammed with this monumental expense because the federal government is failing miserably to fulfill its duty to secure the border. In south Florida’s Miami-Dade County, the superintendent of public schools asked the feds for money to help out with the flood of new students from Central America. Besides extra work in the classroom, the illegal immigrants also need health screenings, social and psychological services, according to the superintendent. That will cost local taxpayers nearly $2,000 more than it typically spends on most students.
Though the recent influx of UACs is overwhelming public schools in this country, it’s not new that American taxpayers are financing the educations of illegal immigrants, in elementary and high school as well as college. Not surprisingly, border states such as California, Arizona and Texas are most affected but that burden is spreading as the feds disburse the barrage of new arrivals in an effort to ease the load. The Obama administration has transferred illegal alien minors around the country, including Nebraska, Massachusetts and, as we previously mentioned, Florida.
Uncle Sam’s generosity—especially a free education—has long been a magnet for illegal immigrants. A few years ago Judicial Watch reported that thousands of Mexican children 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 opened years ago to facilitate the journey for the Mexican kids receiving their free U.S. taxpayer-funded education. Frustrated public school officials say their hands are tied because they simply don’t have the resources to verify every student’s address.
At the college level some states—including Texas, California, Utah, Washington and New York—offer illegal immigrants discounted tuition at public universities. This ends up costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year. JW has been a leader in working to end this illegal perk and last month filed a lawsuit against the University of California Regents seeking to end an estimated $19.6 million in non-resident tuition waivers currently being given to illegal alien students. JW’s suit charges that both federal and state law prohibit the public university system from using tax dollars to provide discounted in-state tuition benefits and financial aid to illegal immigrants.
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