Costs to Education
So lastly, let us try to take a look at how illegal immigration effects education. In many ways this question is the great unknown. Schools, districts and states are aware that the costs of educating immigrants has risen over the years, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that public schools must educate all students, no matter their immigration status. Schools know that costs have risen by anecdotal and statistical means as educating English as second language learners has become an increasing drain on schools, in part because of awareness of need and in part due to demands to educate all students to a greater degree. They also know that many of their students, especially in certain regions of the country are immigrants, but they are not allowed by federal edict to ask about the immigration status of students upon entry or at any other time. Many would legislators and in the public would like to see this change, not for the particular purpose of investigating and ejecting illegal immigrants but mostly to determine if educating such children is impairing the ability of the system to educate legal citizens. Yet, it is clear that the U.S. democratic system is in no real hurry to reverse years of egalitarianism and potential devastation of the existing ad hoc system of illegal immigration to find out how much is actually being spend spent on educating these children, most of whom have little if any real influence or control over their immigration status. (Hoberock) According to one markedly biased estimate the cost of educating illegal immigrant students in the K-12 system amounts to about 7.2 billion dollars per year. (Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform) This of course does not take into account the amount of contributions that these individuals and families make to the nation, through taxes and most importantly by meeting the demand for unskilled labor, that would go largely unmet without them or would be provided at a much higher cost, which would be shifted to citizens through price increases.
In conclusion, many of the issues of illegal immigarion and the cost burden it places on the U.S. are unknowns. What is known is that these immigrants also contribute a great deal to the U.S. economy and to society in general. This is not to say that there is no need to really have a better idea of expenses, in part to answer the many questions of advocates of immigration reform, on both sides, but also to better formulate a legitimate and lasting plan to create a system that better and more rapidly responds to changes in the market of both the U.S. And Source nations. The reason in my opinion to know these figures is not so they can be taken out of the context of the whole dynamic but so that more educated decisions can be made to better serve illegal immigrants, legal immigrants and most importantly U.S. citizens.
Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform. “Poor Education and School Overcrowding – Consequences of Mass Immigration.” (ND) Web. 1 Dec. 2010.
Davidson, Adam. “Q&a: Illegal Immigrants and the U.S. Economy” NPR 30, Mar. 2006: Web. 1 Dec. 2010. < http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5312900>
Hoberock, Barbara. “Citizen status bill will not be heard: The measure would have required schools to determine students’ immigration standing.” Tulsa World (OK) 31 Mar. 2010: Newspaper Source. EBSCO. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. < http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.pcc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&an=2W63236653425&site=ehost-live>
Hansen, Gordon H. “The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration” Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2007. Web. 28 Nov. 2010.
“Top 10 Pros and Cons: What are the solutions to illegal immigration in America?” 2009. Web. 28 Nov. 2010.
Stewart, Bethann. “What are the costs and benefits of illegal immigrants in the U.S. it’s hard to say. Most Idaho agencies have no way of knowing how many they serve.” 16 Aug. 2010. Web. 1 Dec. 2010.