From the CS Monitor:
From kindergartners to 12th-graders, these children routinely cross the US-Mexico border to attend Arizona schools. Some use fake documents. Others stay with US relatives. All pose as full-time US residents to obtain a better education than they would receive from Mexico's public schools.
Now, however, a growing number of school districts in the Southwest are cracking down on the presence of illegal immigrants in their classrooms as education budgets tighten.
The moves are touching off a deeper moral debate that underlies almost every issue dealing with illegal immigration: Is it better to help the immigrant children and thus improve their lives, or is their presence behind American desks robbing taxpayers - and schools - of much-needed money?
They aren't "immigrant children." They're citizens of another country. That country should take charge of educating its citizens, and not leech off our educational system.
While this might have the slight benefit of indoctrinating those children, it will also imprint in them the idea that America is a great big sucker.
And, there is another factor to consider in this debate. If the Mexican government can't educate its own citizens, perhaps those citizens will agitate for reform. Educating their citizens provides the Mexican elite with a safety valve and delays reform.
[Kelt Cooper, the superintendent of the Nogales Arizona Unified School District] estimates that up to 10 percent of his district's approximately 6,000 students may still live in Mexico. Each costs the district about $5,000 per year to educate, in what he calls "a fraud on the government and the taxpayers..."
To get a clearer picture of how many children cross the border, Arizona superintendent of public instruction Tom Horne has asked the state attorney general to investigate the scope of the problem. He says taxpayers deserve nothing less, especially since "state budgets are tight all over right now. People naturally feel uneasy if they feel their government is tolerating a scam without looking behind the surface."
In Chula Vista, parents increasingly complain that children from Tijuana add to crowded classrooms. In response, Chula Vista officials now require parents to provide proof of residency each year. While anger simmers, however, many Chula Vista residents are afraid to speak out, fearing they'll be labeled as racist. But when the San Diego Union Tribune highlighted the district in a recent story, the newspaper received a flood of e-mail supporting the crackdown...
Not all border community members want to keep Mexican children out. From her perch behind the counter at Andres Tienda general store in Nogales, Mercy Johansen watches youngsters pass by on their way to Arizona schools every day. The mother of two grown children, her heart goes out to them. "I think that all children should have the right to a good education, no matter where they live," says Ms. Johansen. "These kids are our future, on both sides of the border."
Ah, the good ol' "end the article with an idiot" trick. Perhaps Ms. Johansen should take her bleeding-heart-of-Sally-Struthers mindset one step further and sponsor one of those children.
Immigration2003 · Thu, 03/25/2004 - 23:31 · Importance: 1