Elisabeth Meinecke has a good column up at Townhall.com regarding the cost of educating illegal immigrants.
Can the U.S. economy afford to spend up to one of every four of its school dollars on K-12 education for illegals?
And are higher costs for educating a burgeoning, illegal immigrant population, balanced against cash-strapped, public education budgets, diminishing U.S. educational quality?
Statistics for California, the state with the largest population of illegal immigrants, indicate the answers are yes. According to the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, in the course of one generation, California dropped from No. 1 in its percentage of residents with high school diplomas to No. 49 among the 50 states. The National Academy of Sciences says each immigrant who lacks a high school diploma will cost U.S. taxpayers $89,000 in services and entitlements over a lifetime. …
When President Barack Obama urged immigration reform in his 2011 State of the Union Address, he referred to “hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not citizens.” Obama and other supporters of education access for illegal immigrants argue the United States was built by immigrants and can’t afford to waste the talents of new immigrant generations.
But are today’s immigrants akin to the masses that flooded here in the 19th and 20th centuries? A Heritage Foundation report says no.
Prior to 1960, Heritage found immigrants to the United States had education levels on par with America’s non-immigrant work force and brought with them skills that allowed them to earn more than their nonimmigrant counterparts.
It’s worth noting that Alabama’s new immigration law requires schools to ask about citizenship at enrollment. Under Federal law the state cannot refuse to enroll illegal immigrants, but there’s not a federal law against asking about immigration status. Our new law requires schools to report to the State Department of Education the number of illegal immigrants enrolled in our schools.