Illegal immigrants have a right to an education in the US the Supreme Court has ruled, consequently schools cannot ask about residency or immigration status. The decision was originally intended to address the educational needs of the children of seasonal workers who would return to Mexico when the work ended. The children in question, however, do not fit the seasonal worker category. Their families live just across the border and for years have crossed the border for an education much better than what they would have received in Mexico, if any at all.
For the greater part of the history of the area, the practice was simply accepted because the crossborder students were few and posed no hardship to the school districts. As the residency on the Mexican side of the border increased, so did the crossborder student population. The Calexico citizens pointed out that neither US citizens, Mexican citizens, nor illegal immigrants can claim false residency in a school district.
Schools are funded through property taxes and the parents do not own property in Calexico and do not pay school taxes. That is unfair to the legal citizens of any school district. So, Calexico citizens asked the School District to address the situation and they decided to identify the offenders. The number of crossborder students has declined 5% in the past two years from 9,600 to 9,100 while the city population has grown by 3%.
Sweetwater Disttrict superintendent, Jesus Gandera, administers 44,000 students along the San Diego-Mexico border. He decries the action of Calexico as going too far, that "you're playing immigration agent." He's probably right. But, the crossborder students and their parents are playing thief.
Luis Villalobos of the El Paso Independent School Distict in Texas, says they send representatives to student's homes if they are suspicious. He said that snapping pictures of student violators would be a monumental, unproductive effort. I don't think a 5% drop in illegal student attendance is unproductive. It's what should happen in more border districts.
The truth is that Mexican children have crossed the 1,952 mile border to attend United States public schools for decades. Adequate records and statistics have never been kept. The growth of many border towns like Calexico has outstripped school resources, culminating in overcrowding, the construction of more classrooms and the proliferation of portable classrooms at local cost of $30 million. Finally, Calexico taxpayers were fed up with having their own children bussed across town because their neighborhood schools were full of interlopers, and demanded the Mexican students be booted.
Former Calexico mayor, Fernando Torres, was taken aback when told by the district that his grandchildren would be transferred to another school because there was no room in their neighborhood school. Torres said, "It's not right" for U.S. taxpayers to build classrooms in the US for illegal Mexican bordercrossers.
Personally, I don't care if Mexicans, or anyone else, come here for an education, or even medical care. I have a real problem when I and all other US citizens must pay for the whole boatload. If the parents of the bordercrossing students want their kids to have an education, then pay for it. I'm not opposed to legal arrangements made between the two nations. But not paying for services obtained by deception is theft, and I will not countenance that. It's rude and unneighbourly.
Or read the article at Indigo Continuum.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.