I was reading an article about a Calexico, California, private school on the border with Mexico which has a lot of students who pay tuition and come across the border every day from Mexico, and this seemingly innocuous sentence caught my eye:
Every day, the students said, they stand in border lines made longer by Mexicali youths who are illegally attending free, public Calexico schools.
That’s right! Mexican children are crossing the border every day and getting a free public education in America, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. These are not legal residents of the U.S.; they are not even illegal residents of the U.S. These are people who currently live in Mexico, getting a free education in public schools in border towns.
Nearly three out of four students at Columbus Elementary, the school closest to the border, live in Palomas [Mexico] and were born to Mexican parents. The Palomas children are American because of a long-standing state and federal policy that allows Mexican women to deliver their babies at the nearest hospital, which happens to be 30 miles north of the border in Deming, N.M., the seat of Luna County.
In the 1950s, the Palomas children didn’t even have to be Americans to attend the Deming Public Schools. Twenty years later, the county began requiring U.S. citizenship, but students don’t need to live in Luna County, said Harvielee Moore, the school superintendent.
Do you want to bet that there are students who go to this school who are not U.S. citizens?
Children cross the border to attend school elsewhere along the sprawling U.S.-Mexico boundary, most notably in El Paso, across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez.
About 94 percent of the children at the school are living in poverty, and nearly all 570 students are considered English-language learners — classifications that entitle the school to extra federal dollars but create intense challenges in the classroom.
Last year, there was a flurry of students arrested as they tried to cross the border for school, including a 14-year-old boy who was found hiding a 14-pound brick of marijuana in his backpack, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
It’s incredible that we pay for the public education of people who actually live in other countries. Our schools must be aware of it. The border agents who let the same kids through day after day must be aware of it. Where does it end?