". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Experts Worry that Illegal Immigration Is Affecting the Education System

March 2, 2024

Since the beginning of the border crisis in which millions of illegal immigrants have flooded into the country, American citizens have been affected in various ways, most notably by the spike in crime.

Some sanctuary cities have recognized that crime is out of their control and have sought changes in their sanctuary policies. Saturating news headlines are cases of illegal immigrants stealing, assaulting, raping, or even murdering innocent American civilians. In addition, taxpayers are funding the housing, food, and health care of people who aren’t legally in the U.S., with taxpayer money funding gender transition procedures as well.

Experts are also pointing to how illegal immigration is affecting the education system, as Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, explained on Thursday’s episode of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.”

FRC President Tony Perkins highlighted that “the ongoing border crisis undermines our nation’s education system” and is “often left unmentioned.” But the reality, Kilgannon said, is that both poor and wealthy districts are affected by the illegal immigrant students coming in.

“Americans are very generous,” she said, “and it’s hard for us to turn down a student at the schoolhouse door if they present themselves to learn.” But even so, most schools don’t have a choice on whether they accept the illegal migrants, which then places an added and significant “strain on the budget,” Kilgannon added. And she explained how a lot of them come in without an ability to speak English, which requires special services.

Financial strains, in particular, are hard on the high poverty areas, Kilgannon described, because they’re already struggling to fund their schools. They hardly have enough money for the legal American citizens, she noted, but additionally, “it affects wealthy areas too because of the drug crisis.” As drug overdoses at schools increase, Kilgannon discussed the growing controversy over “whether or not the school is notifying parents when children overdose at school.”

She added, “But the reason that kids are overdosing at school is because, for one thing, there’s poor control over the environment by the people who are running the schools. But there’s [also] an increase in drugs coming across the border. … There’s more availability of these drugs, and it’s causing all kinds of pressures to be put on many, many areas of our society. And of course, it’s happening to our school system as well.”

As a former state legislator, Perkins highlighted that what he used to see were parents who had to deal with very strict rules about which schools they could attend based on the district they lived in. But with illegal immigrants, he shared that those same rules don’t apply. “I mean, we’re making our own citizens have to live within the boundaries and the rules, but then someone who’s not even a citizen of this country can come in and go wherever they want, and we have to pay for it,” he said. Kilgannon agreed and stated “there are so many rules that they do not have to follow that regular American citizens have to follow.”

Perkins observed that it looks like “these schools are just expected to absorb the cost of the Biden administration’s immigration policy.” Kilgannon referred to it as “an unfunded mandate,” which can be defined as “regulations or other requirements imposed by a higher level of government on a lower one, but without accompanying appropriations to cover the cost of compliance.” Both Perkins and Kilgannon reflected on whether “local governments could take action against the Biden administration for that reason.” Kilgannon added, “I certainly would want to if I were running a school system that was dealing with these kinds of things.”

In addition, Perkins briefly mentioned how these education concerns caused by illegal immigration only add to the concern over declining test scores and proficiency rates with each year. Considering this push for schools to cater to the Biden administration’s open border policy, he concluded, “I would just think at some point a state’s got to draw the line and say, ‘We’re not doing it.’ … [T]his is absolutely out of control.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.