President Barack Obama unilaterally ordered the most comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system, granting five million of the nation’s 11.4 million undocumented immigrants in the United States legal status. In his November 20 address, he effectively told illegal immigrants that they can “come out of the shadows” but his call for transparency is railroaded by federal laws and Obama administration add-ons that will keep the impact of his executive amnesty on K-12 public education, including pre-kindergarten, buried deep in the shadows.
Unlike the student recipients of the DREAM Act moving onto higher education, the landmark 1982 Supreme Court ruling on Plyler v. Doe prohibited outing the illegal status of K-12 aged minors or denying their enrollment in any American public school.
“In a vote of 5-to-4, the Court found the Plyler v. Doe in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, ruling that undocumented immigrant children had protection from discrimination unless a substantial state interest could be shown to justify it,” Breitbart Texas reported.
The resulting reality is what Texas Education Agency (TEA) spokeswoman Lauren Callahan told Breitbart Texas is that “Our school districts are not allowed to ask about immigration status.”
This is not just Texas. It is nationwide. Heaped on top of the federal law were Obama administration letters jointly issued by the US Department of Education and the US Department of Justice during a smaller 2011 influx of illegal immigrants crossing over into the United States, revised for 2014’s border surge of Central American unaccompanied alien children (UAC) flooding through Texas.
The letter further extended to illegal immigrant families with children in public school, the hard fought after protections intended for Black American citizens during the Civil Rights movement.
Additionally, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), responsible for the National School Lunch Program for K-12 and the Child and Adult Care Food Program which services publicly funded pre-K, extends Civil Rights discrimination protections. This, too, is a national policy.
Regarding existing public school enrollments in Texas, school aged youngsters that were released to family members or guardians during the2014 influx were likely absorbed into the system. Although 30,340 unaccompanied minors were reported released from federal custody and into parental, guardian or other foster care arrangements nationally, Texas’ fair share was reported at 4,280. This did not include UACs who had been warehoused in federal government facilities.
Breitbart Texas asked Callahan about incoming 2015-16 school year pre-K and kindergarten populations. She said “the same rules apply for enrolling in Pre-K as they do for K-12 — the districts cannot ask about a student’s immigration status. As long as they live in the district and qualify to enroll in state fundedhalf-day Pre-K, they may enroll.”
Currently, Texas funds half-day public preschool for children from low-income, educationally disadvantaged, non-English speaking, andmilitary families. Homeless and foster children are also eligible.
Commissioner of Education Michael Williams applied for a federal pre-K mega-grant to grow Texas preschool. Should Texas win the $30 million a year for four-years award, parents could enter children into a lottery vying for approximately 18,000 new public or private federally taxpayer funded pre-K spots. Williams’ plan has a voucher component. How many of Obama’s executive amnesty four-year-olds will be recipients is unknown.
Texans may not be able to see the head count invasion on paper but will likely feel it in their wallets. Breitbart News reported that the education of existing illegal immigrant children K-12 presently cost Texas taxpayers $8.5 billion.
In late October, the TEA took a snap shot of Texas public school growth. These figures are not expected to become available until early2015. It will be interesting to see how clearly this photo develops.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.