More than 37,000 undocumented children who crossed Mexican border - going back to U.S. schools
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/14/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
They come tired and hungry, crossing great expanses of the desert in search of a better life in the United States - and they're going back to U.S. school shortly. More than 37,000 South and Central American children, who made their escape without parents of guardians will begin school here in the U.S.
The Department of Justice in May issued a statement reminding public schools that they are legally required to enroll all children, regardless of their immigration status.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - These unaccompanied minors who have entered the U.S. illegally - but so far, to date, only one illegal minor was sent to Montana between January 1 and July 31st.
According to the Administration for Children & Families' Office of Refugee Resettlement, 37,477 alien children have been placed with relatives or other sponsors around the U.S. These children are awaiting to hear their immigration status to be determined in domestic courts later this year.
There are currently several school districts having to deal with the unexpected strain of new students.
These migrant children in the meantime are entitled to attend U.S. public schools. As some states have received thousands of unaccompanied minors, this could create a significant strain on some school districts. The highest number were released to relatives or other sponsors in Texas, followed by New York, California, Florida and Virginia.
Altogether, 62,998 unaccompanied alien children under the age of 17 have illegally crossed the southern border since October of last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). So there are still thousands of children and teens in detention centers waiting to be processed before they are released throughout the U.S.
Most of the children are from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, according to the CBP and many don't speak English. "We don't know the educational background (of the students), if they've even been to school, the language issue and operational issues that could raise costs," Francisco Negron, general counsel for the National School Board Association, says.
As some states have received thousands of unaccompanied minors, this could create a significant strain on some school districts.
There are currently several school districts having to deal with the unexpected strain of new students. In Miami-Dade County, the district in Florida with the most newly arrived immigrant children, schools had to request additional funding last week to counteract the expected spike in new students.
While San Antonio is another expected hotspot, Leslie Price of the San Antonio Independent School District told CNSNews.com that she still has no indication whether a large number of immigrant children will be enrolled in San Antonio schools.
"We do want to make sure that we are ready, however, should that occur," she said. "Toward that end - we have pulled together a team of employees and have begun discussions to ensure that we can best accommodate them should we have any of these students enrolled in our schools."
This is all being done with the tacit approval of the federal government. The Department of Justice in May issued a statement reminding public schools that they are legally required to enroll all children, regardless of their immigration status.
"You must ensure that you do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and that students are not barred from enrolling in public schools at the elementary and secondary level on the basis of their own citizenship or immigration status of that of their parents or guardians," the DOJ statement read.
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