Depending on where in the United States you live, K-12 students are either already heading back to school or preparing to do so soon. But some schools are facing a unique challenge this year if they happen to have an immigration enforcement detention center holding large numbers of illegal immigrant children within their district. That’s the case with the San Benito, Texas school district. They are in the process of dispatching dozens of bilingual teachers and mobile classroom units to provide an education for hundreds of children in the detention center near them. It’s a serious strain on both personnel and resources, but federal law stipulates that they have to provide an education for any child that applies, regardless of immigration status. The question is, did all of these kids apply? And how do they cover the surge in demands for both teachers and educational materials?
The Associated Press found out that San Benito is in the minority. They contacted more than five dozen other school districts with immigration centers in their territory and found that the majority of them are not nearly as involved.
The Associated Press inquired with public school districts in 61 cities nationwide where shelters are known to exist within their boundaries. Among the 50 that responded, most said they had no contact with the shelter or federal program authorities. Some outside the border states, including Camden, New Jersey, said they only recently discovered the existence of migrant shelters in their community.
Many noted they would educate all children regardless of immigration status, as required by law, if their families or legal guardians sought enrollment on their campuses.
“Until this becomes a real-time issue for us, we have no official position,” said Superintendent Dennis Blauser of the Oracle, Arizona, school district.
All of these schools are dealing with the same legal questions. How would illegal immigrant families awaiting either deportation or court dates apply for enrollment? And if they do, are the children simply released each day to take a bus to school or must the school send teachers, book and other materials to the detention center?
It’s also worth noting the AP’s finding that, “most of the thousands of young people held in federal shelters across the U.S. are unaccompanied minors.” By law, if they want to attend school and attempt to enroll they’re supposed to be accepted. But particularly for the teenagers, that adds another layer of complications. One recent report indicates that vast numbers of younger illegal aliens who are not detained fail to show up for immigration court hearings, just as the adults often do. (Washington Times)
On any given day, nearly 20 illegal immigrant children skip their deportation hearings and disappear into the shadows, the Trump administration said Thursday, putting contours on the difficulty the government faces in trying to stop the flow and protect the children.
More than 200,000 of the juveniles — known in government speak as Unaccompanied Alien Children, or UAC — have been released into communities in recent years and remain there, many of them ignoring deportation orders and others awaiting a judge’s ruling.
Yet top senators say many of them are “lost,” with the federal government having no clue where they are, how to deport them, or even whether they’re being abused.
We’re still hearing plenty of debate over children who are separated from their parents (assuming the people transporting them actually are their parents) when they cross into the country illegally. But a far larger number are already separated when they show up and are completely on their own. What do you do with them? If you turn them loose into the community, far too many of them simply disappear. If you cut them loose for school you run the same risk. But if not, you have to find a place to house them all and then somehow provide on-site education resources.
This is yet another example of why we need a better way to stop the flow of fresh illegal aliens crossing the border to begin with. If you don’t want a wall, then figure out some other way to do it. But this problem is overwhelming our resources as things stand today.