How Much Is Illegals' Education Costing You?

Elisabeth Meinecke

6/27/2011 8:30:00 AM - Elisabeth Meinecke

American taxpayers are paying billions each year to educate the children of illegal immigrants while the quality of education for their own children suffers.

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On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter warning the country’s public school districts they are not entitled to know—and break the law by asking—if a student is in America legally.

A week later, a homeless American mother faced felony charges in Connecticut for allegedly “stealing” $15,000 of education from a public school district by using her babysitter’s address to enroll her son in
kindergarten.

In the July issue of Townhall Magazine, Kathy Jessup explores the education of illegal immigrants in our country and whether the system discriminates against taxpayers. Here's an excerpt:
 

Can the U.S. economy afford to spend up to one of every four of its school dollars on K-12 education for illegals?

And are higher costs for educating a burgeoning, illegal immigrant population, balanced against cash-strapped, public education budgets, diminishing U.S. educational quality?

Statistics for California, the state with the largest population of illegal immigrants, indicate the answers are yes. According to the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, in the course of one generation, California dropped from No. 1 in its percentage of residents with high school diplomas to No. 49 among the 50 states. The National Academy of Sciences says each immigrant who lacks a high school diploma will cost U.S. taxpayers $89,000 in services and entitlements over a lifetime. ...

When President Barack Obama urged immigration reform in his 2011 State of the Union Address, he referred to “hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not citizens.” Obama and other supporters of education access for illegal immigrants argue the United States was built by immigrants and can’t afford to waste the talents of new immigrant generations.

But are today’s immigrants akin to the masses that flooded here in the 19th and 20th centuries? A Heritage Foundation report says no.

Prior to 1960, Heritage found immigrants to the United States had education levels on par with America’s non-immigrant work force and brought with them skills that allowed them to earn more than their nonimmigrant counterparts. ...

Order Townhall Magazine today to get the full report in the July issue.