CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM — A D.C.-area principal told the paper that the most powerful thing educators can do is to make these students feel safe. They are alienated and impoverished. Many are separated from their parents and have nowhere else to turn. They are actively recruited by gangs that have ties to their homelands. A local activist explained that it is “critical for schools to provide a holistic, comprehensive support system” for these newcomers.
The responsibility of doing so changes the mission of the school. And the number of schools tasked with this burden is growing. The Post cited federal education data showing a total of 630,000 immigrant students nationwide. But that figure only includes foreign-born children who have been enrolled in U.S. schools for less than three years. When you count all of the students from immigrant households (including those born here), the number exceeds 10 million. In other words, more than one of every five public school students in the United States is from an immigrant household. This figure corresponds with Census records that show one of every five school-age children speaks a foreign language at home. That number is higher in immigrant-rich states like California, where 44 percent of all school-age children speak a foreign language.
Obviously not all children who come from immigrant households require the “holistic” support system that is being demanded by activists. But many do, like the recent unaccompanied children arrivals from Central America who were part of the illegal surge that began in 2013. So far, nearly 100,000 have been resettled in various parts of the country by the current administration. Thousands more are crossing each month with little interference from authorities. Fleeing poverty, many come to find work in the United States and are surprised they are even required to attend school.