As American children across the country head back to school this fall, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finally released county level data on the numbers of unaccompanied alien minors who will be joining them after being released to “sponsors” throughout the United States.
The table released by HHS last week shows each county where 50 or more minors have been released to sponsors from the beginning of January to the end of July. The data covers 126 counties in 32 states, and provides information on 29,890 of the 37,477 total minors released to sponsors during this period. The two counties receiving the most illegal aliens were Harris County, Texas with 2,866, and Los Angeles County with 1,993. (Id.) Statewide data released previously also showed that the four states receiving the greatest number of illegal alien minors were Texas, New York, Florida, and California, which all received over 3000 minors, though Maryland and Virginia received the most per state population.
American citizens will be responsible for the education of these minors. In May, the Administration revised its 2011 policy to public elementary and postsecondary educators to require “equal access” to K-12 education for illegal aliens. Not only did the revised guidance declare that Supreme Court precedent and federal civil rights law prohibit school districts from excluding illegal aliens, the Administration also added language that expressly protected illegal alien parents and guardians from having to provide state issued identification or a social security number. FAIR has estimated that in the 2014-2015 school year, it will cost American taxpayers $761 million to educate the 37,000 unaccompanied alien minors released this year.
The HHS data surprised some state officials. For instance, Governor Bobby Jindal (R- LA) noted last Wednesday that the Administration sent over a thousand minors to Louisiana “without telling us, without telling social services, without telling the schools,” despite a promise from cabinet officials only a month ago that no minors would be released without warning. He also complained about the cost, saying that the county of Jefferson Parrish, which alone received 533 illegal alien minors, was “literally having to hire more and more teachers that speak Spanish, they’re thinking about having to offer bonuses and stipends.”
These 37,000 minors released across the country may be only the first wave that HHS reports. While the surge of minors travelling through the desert to the border has slowed during the hot summer months, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants expects a second wave to begin in the fall when the weather cools. Despite repeated promises by the Administration that the unaccompanied alien minors streaming across the border would be sent home rather than integrated into the United States, only 280 minors have been deported while these 37,000 have been released.
This article was originally published in FAIR’s Legislative Update on September 2, 2014.