Editor’s note: this article is cross-posted from ThinkProgress
Over the past few months, anti-immigrant groups have manufactured indignation over migrant children fleeing violence from Latin America to the United States by claiming that the kids are trying to receive immigration benefits, are disease-carriers, and could even pose serious issues for domestic security. In the latest effort to generate outrage against migrant children, one anti-immigrant group is claiming that children will drain taxpayer dollars and burden the education system. About 37,000 out of the 66,000 children are eligible for school enrollment this fall and a report released Tuesday by the immigration-restrictionist group Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that the cost of educating child arrivals at the southern U.S. border could hover around $761 million.
Using its own methodology, FAIR estimates that the cost of educating migrant children is 75 percent more than the cost of educating children already in the system. Conservative outlets and politicians alike have already jumped at the chance to be furious that educating these children will be a “high cost to taxpayers,” but in a public school system that hosts 49.8 million children, the cost of educating these children is a “drop in the bucket.”
The report, which broke down estimates for each state, claims that it could cost millions to educate children since they would likely require Limited English Proficient (LEP) classes conducted in Spanish or other indigenous languages to Central America where many of these children are coming from. The data found that California, Texas, Florida, and New York would likely spend the most tax dollars on immigrant education: Texas could spend $77.67 million to educate 5,280 children and California could spend $63.9 million to educate 3,909 children. The analysis found that the cost breakdown to educate a child in California could be $16,683, while the one migrant child that Montana placed with a sponsor could cost $19,000.
Yet FAIR’s analysis provides little evidence pointing to how….