Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America who have recently crossed into the United States will cost state and local governments a staggering $761 million dollars this year, a group that favors immigration reduction has calculated.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, which is pushing for reduced legal immigration and stronger border security, made its calculation based on federal government data indicating that more than 37,000 children who are part of the recent border surge have now been placed with families across the United States and are eligible to attend public schools.
The immigrants will cost local schools far more than other students, FAIR contests, not only because they speak little English but because most have likely had little schooling.
Ten states, according to FAIR, make up the bulk of the cost — totaling nearly $600 million.
New York topped the list at $147.7 million, which FAIR said would be needed to provide special educational services and free and reduced lunch for 4,159 immigrant children who do not speak English. New York ranks high in part because it pays $35,520 per pupil with limited English proficiency and low incomes.
Next on the list Texas at nearly $78 million, followed by Maryland ($68 million), California ($64 million), New Jersey ($58 million), Florida ($57 million), Virginia ($54 million), Louisiana ($26 million) and Massachusetts ($25 million).
According to FAIR, the federal government does not plan to provide additional money to help school systems foot the bill for the extra students.
“Once again the costs of federal government’s failed immigration policies are borne at the local level, and the nation’s public school system is where the costs are most visible,” a statement from FAIR said.
Several immigration advocacy groups, including La Raza, declined to comment on the report Tuesday.