With the surge of undocumented immigrants at the southern border of the United States continuing, school districts across the country are struggling to cope with the additional burden of having to educate the tens of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children and teenagers who are now entitled to receive a US education.
The Washington Post reports that between October 1st 2013 and December 31st 2015, 95,000 unaccompanied immigrant minors were placed with sponsors and family members in towns across the United States by the Obama administration while waiting for their immigration court hearings. These figures do not include the additional thousands of youths from Central America who have crossed the Mexican border into the US and are also entitled to an education.
The Washington Post notes that the students from Central America are often a considerable way behind their American peers academically, with many also traumatized by their hazardous trek to the United States and unable to speak English. Immigrant advocates claim that schools should offer all the support they can; however, critics point out that many of the schools are already experiencing difficulties and cannot and should not be forced to cope with the extra strain.
“The cost of meeting the educational needs for the kids who are arriving illegally as part of the surge is the main way that the administration’s policy is burdensome to state and local governments,” claims Jessica Vaughan from the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies.