The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a new report that shows the impact illegal immigration has had on government schools.
Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the researchers found that almost a quarter of government school students are from legal immigrant or illegal-alien households. An excerpt (emphasis added):
What’s more, immigration has added enormously to the number of students who are in poverty or speak a foreign language.
All of this has occurred with little debate over the capacity of our schools to educate and integrate these students into our culture.
As recently as 1980, just 7 percent of public school students were from immigrant households, compared to 23 percent today.
High-immigration states have seen even more dramatic increases: 8 percent to 35 percent in Nevada, 11 percent to 34 percent in New Jersey, and 10 percent to 31 percent in Texas. Even in states that are not traditional immigrant destinations, such as Minnesota, Alaska, and Kansas, 1 in 7 students are now from an immigrant household.
Immigration impacts all Americans in their daily lives. The government has to use resources (our tax money) to teach foreign students English and get them up to speed. Many of these households are also in poverty, which means more government assistance.
Immigrant households also add disproportionately to the number of disadvantaged students.
In 2015, 30 percent of all students living below the poverty line were from immigrant households, making it unlikely that tax revenue grows correspondingly with enrollment in areas of high immigration.
Immigrants often settle in areas of high poverty, adding to the challenges for schools in these areas. In the 200 Public Use Micro Areas with the highest poverty rates in the country, where poverty among students averages 46 percent, nearly one-third of students are from immigrant households.
Immigration has also added enormously to the population of students who speak a foreign language. In 2015, nearly 1 in 5 students in the country spoke a language other than English at home.
Assimilation would alleviate some of these problems. America used to encourage foreigners who wanted to permanently remain in this country to assimilate into American culture.
One way that assimilation works is that the predominance of natives and their children in a school, town, or neighborhood makes the absorption of American culture and identity almost inevitable among immigrants and their children.
If immigrants are a modest share of the local population, it makes identifying with America and its culture practically unavoidable.
But the level of immigration, most of it legal, has been so high in the last four decades that there are now whole sections of the country where U.S. natives and their children are actually the minority or nearly so. This may threaten assimilation.