Texas Won’t Fund Schools at Illegal Alien Shelters



Rejecting requests from local school districts, Texas will not fund education programs for illegal aliens held at immigration detention centers in the state.

In response, the Harlingen school system said it will “re-evaluate” its presence in a Southwest Key contract shelter, which it had supported with about $5,000 per migrant.

Also rebuffed in its bid for $2.8 million of added state funding to serve aliens, a neighboring district in San Benito ended its partnership with another Southwest Key shelter.

Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that more than 10,000 migrant minors are in federal custody, with a large portion of them in Texas. The vast majority of them arrived in the U.S. alone, without their parents.

Expending funds on illegal aliens was a quixotic gambit for Texas schools, which perennially complain they don’t have enough resources to educate children legally residing in their districts. School boards across the Lone Star State regularly push bond elections and property tax increases to raise more money.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) says responsibility for educating children in shelters “remains solely with the federal government.”

“Local educational agencies that wish to provide services to unaccompanied alien children in federal custody may do so on a contractual or tuition fee basis, but may not do so with state education funding,” TEA stated.

Explaining the mechanics in an Aug. 31 directive, TEA said:

  • A school district shall charge tuition for a child who resides at a residential facility and whose maintenance expenses are paid in whole or in part by another state or the United States.
  • A tuition charge under this section must be submitted to the commissioner for approval.
  • The attendance of the child is not counted for purposes of allocating state funds to the district.

State officials reviewed their policies after Promesa Public Schools, a charter school group originally founded by Southwest Key, sought permission to expand one of its Brownsville campuses “to serve immigrant students in federal detention.”

That’s when TEA laid down the law and drew the line on funding.

Health and Human Services rules mandate that migrant shelters provide children with six hours of schooling on weekdays, as well as special education services. HHS has not commented on Texas’ hands-off policy.

Educating detained illegal immigrant children has become a big moneymaker for Austin-based Southwest Key Programs Inc., which operates 16 facilities for unaccompanied alien children in Texas (26 nationwide). The nonprofit contractor received $1.5 billion from the federal government over the past decade and expects to earn more than $458 million this year.

About Author

avatar

Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

11 Comments

  1. avatar

    Americans work hard for their income. It’s time liberals stopped using tax revenue as their own personal ATM account for the purpose of purchasing more liberal VOTES . The ONLY people ENTITLED to American taxpayer dollars are AMERICAN CITIZENS and that’s IT! All this “We’re ENTITLED to the MONEY and RESOURCES that American citizens work for” has got to STOP. We are NOT the world’s personal ATM!

  2. avatar

    TEXAS IS USUALLY FAIR, AND THIS IS ONE CASE. WHY EDUCATE THE CHILDREN OF ANOTHER COUNTRY? WHY GIVE THEM THE ENCOURAGEMENT TO STAY? LATER THEY WILL BE ‘DREAMERS’ OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND WASTE OUR TIME AND MONEY IN COURT.

    • avatar

      You can’t blame the people who are getting our tax dollars. Blame the liberal left politicians who’ve made them feel ENTITLED to the money you and I and everyone else WORK for. They’re the problem. Hell, I’d take FREE MONEY too! Most folks would if you had liberal elected officials telling you that you’re ENTITLED to it.

  3. avatar
    Geoge Tyrebyter on

    It’s time to re-examine the rules about educating the children of illegals who are not citizens. It’s also time to re-examine the 14th amendment. We spend way too mch money on the children of criminals who should not be here.

    • avatar

      The 14th Amendment references the Slave whose parents were in the US and even though considered chattel, were regarded as citizens and the to honor the children or offspring of the said slave as immigrants. Also due to the mere fact that they were recognized as lawfully being in the us also based on residence. The Amendment says nothing about immigrants and their children. The parents (Slaves were considered legal citizens, therefore their offspring were also deemed and born as US citizens. The parents had allegiance to the US, therefore, the child is considered a citizen.

      Whereby, the illegal immigrants’ allegiance is to the nation of its birth, resulting in the child being born of the same nationality of its parent. The child of an illegal immigrant cannot possibly be a US citizen if neither parent is not a US citizen. That child is born as an illegal alien or of the same nationality as its parent.

    • avatar

      Agree 72hrs. send them back and any family members with them and it makes it that they can never come here at all even legally they broke the law so banned permanently, from ever coming here.

  4. avatar

    Texas school districts should reserve their (allegedly scarce) resources for the citizens of the state and country. School boards cannot continue to stick taxpayers with high property tax bills AND expend millions more giving “free” education to illegal aliens. The Texas Education Agency made the right call here.

  5. avatar

    Wanna save money? Send these bambinos’ back to what Senator Whoo!Whoo! Warren [aka Liar-watha!] calls their “mommas” in Mexico! There, they can get an education appropriate to their social functioning in their official national language – Spanish! Glad that the Lone Star State took a stand on this; if the federal government [aka Uncle Sucker!] doesn’t want to pay $5 Grand to ‘educate” these kids, then EXPEDITE their removal from the country. This scam is a ‘big moneymaker’ for professional do-gooders at the taxpayer’s expense? Gee, what a shocker! As with nearly every other social problem, if you want to know the cause, simply Follow the Money!

    • avatar

      Exactly. Most should have already, long ago, been returned to their own countries. But I have an idea, what about simply turning these kids over to their nation’s embassies in the USA, making them responsibile fir getting the kids back home. Nevertheless, we would not be dealing with thius terribly expensive mess if we had: 1. Never allowed them to enter our nation AND 2. We had and followed serious, restrictive immigration laws closing our southern border to ALL unwanted foreigners. If these foreign nations and their people knew they would be turned away at our border, not be allowed in no matter their story, then they would stop coming. But, currently, they all, the whole world, knows quite well that, if they can just get to our southern border, the USA will let them in, give them everything for free, treat them just like citizens, and never make them leave. So, why wouldn’t they come for the totally easy ride the USA offers?

  6. avatar
    William Vanderbrink on

    Those facilities are already being funded by taxpayers. Those funds should include education for the detainees as appropriate.
    Without paying for that education, the private contractors are just pocketing the money as additional profit. If you’re going to get into this business, you’ve got to pay the freight.