By Jose Nino
Representative Bradley Byrne told his Congressional colleagues during a hearing on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 that American taxpayers pay over about $60 billion to educate illegal alien students and the children of illegal aliens.
Byrne highlighted that the burden of paying for the education of more than 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants coming into the country annually is shouldered by American citizens.
“In 2016, the Pew Research Center estimated that 3.9 million — or 7.3% — of kindergarten through 12th grade students in the United States were either here illegally or were the children of at least one parent illegally present in the United States,” Byrne stated. “Can anyone tell me how much we spend on public education for that population of students? It’s around $60 billion.”
The Republican congressman detailed that while the federal government requires English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for approximately 9.6 percent of American students who have Limited English Proficiency (LEP), state and local governments must bear the majority of the costs.
“What percentage of ESL programs are paid for by the federal government that requires them? Just over one percent,” Byrne declared. “Who pays for the rest? States and local school systems.”
So, we require it and we push 99 percent of the costs on state and local school systems. That costs a lot of money for these state and local school systems. Many of them, like my state of Alabama, just don’t have it. But because the federal government requires it, they have to put that money in there to the detriment of other programs.
That cost is not being borne by those of us in Washington. It’s being borne by men and women and the states and local school systems around the United States of America. But really the cost is being borne by children who are being denied the programs that they should have. Children who are citizens of the United States, whose parents are citizens of the United States, they’re being denied programs because we’re forcing their state and local school systems to take on an expense that we should be taking on because we’ve failed to enforce our own laws.
Steven Kopits conducted a study that showed the United States could have up to one million new migrant children by the November 2020 election — about 800,000 of those would need to be enrolled in local school districts.
The 2020 election will likely feature immigration as one of the top issues, which the Trump campaign likely recognizes given its popularity among GOP voters.