The influx of unaccompanied alien children will cost one school district in Louisiana $4.6 million alone this year, as local school budgets across the country are bearing the brunt of the thousands of illegal immigrant minors who crossed the border this summer.
According to the Louisiana department of education’s response to an inquiry by Sen. David Vitter (R., La.), the Jefferson Parish School System will be forced to hire dozens more teachers to teach English to the more than 500 illegal alien children who have been relocated there.
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"It’s a very significant cost to the Louisiana taxpayer, and that’s just education," Vitter told the Washington Free Beacon on Thursday. "We have plenty of other categories that are impacted, like health care, emergency room and other health care, and other benefits. That’s just public education."
John White, the state superintendent of education for Louisiana, responded to Vitter’s request, detailing the costs associated with educating unaccompanied alien children.
The letter explains that Jefferson Parish, located in Harvey, La., just outside of New Orleans, will need an additional $4.6 million to educate 533 unaccompanied alien children. It costs the state an average of $8,854 per student, each year. In the Jefferson Parish, it will cost an average of $9,047 per student for the 2014-2015 school year.
The parish will have to hire 27 new English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, 20 new "ESL para-educators," 19 regular education teachers, and three special education teachers in order to meet the demands associated with the new students.
The state will not receive any additional funding from the federal government to deal with the increase, White said.
Louisiana is among the 10 states that have received the most unaccompanied alien children, according to data compiled by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The state will pay $25.8 million to educate 1,250 illegal alien children this school year.
Unaccompanied alien children have been relocated to every state in the nation, stressing local education budgets. Costs of accepting the young illegal immigrants range from $147.7 million in New York with the addition of 4,159 students, to $18,630 in Montana, which will enroll just one child.
Sen. Vitter attributed the sharp increase in illegal immigrant minors to the Obama administration policies, and in particular to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive action in 2012.
The Republican said that the increase is a "direct response" to President Obama’s decision to grant work permits to children brought to the country illegally and warned that the program may be expanded through Obama’s promised executive action this fall.
"My concern is that he is going to potentially do the same thing on an even bigger basis, in terms of numbers," Vitter said.
Vitter added that the border crisis with unaccompanied alien children has united Republicans in the Senate to focus on enforcement measures and is hopeful for a GOP victory in the midterms to push back against the administration’s efforts.
"I can tell you in Republican conference meetings in the last couple of months talking about that illegal minors crisis, there were plenty of days John McCain (R., Ariz.) was saying the same things and making the same arguments that I was making," he said, laughing. "And that’s never happened before in our immigration discussions."