Schools a haven for many [illegal alien] unaccompanied minors

Article author: 
Kimberly Hefling
Article publisher:
Article date: 
15 July 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

After 14 years of separation from her parents and a harrowing journey across the U.S. border, Milsa Martinez finds solace in the northern Virginia high school where she's perfecting her English and learning civics and math.

For children and teens [illegally] crossing the border alone like Martinez did two years ago, America's schools are one of the few government institutions where they are guaranteed services, from science instruction to eye exams.

While their cases are being processed by immigration authorities, most of these minors are released to family members or sponsors who are told the children must be enrolled in school.

In school, they frequently require special resources like English language and mental health services that already are strained because of budget cuts ...

"They need to be fed. They need to be clothed. They need to be cared for and then taught," Carvalho said ...

H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Arlington, where Martinez attends school, allows students learning English to stay into their 20s. In the past two years, it has seen increased numbers of students who [illegally] crossed the border alone. Teacher Michael Coughlin said many work at night ... in at least one case, to pay back a relative who spent thousands of dollars to have them smuggled into the country.

Martinez, now 20, said she was 18 when her parents sent for her, after her grandmother died ...

Martinez was treated as a minor when detained because, she said, she looked young ...

CAIRCO Research

U.S. Department of Education 

 The President's fiscal year 2015 budget request for education ... the lion's share of the 2015 request—nearly 90 percent of discretionary spending—goes to formula funds that address the needs of disadvantaged poor and minority students, students with disabilities, and English learners.

  • The responsibility for K-12 education rests with the states under the Constitution.
  • States and localities are the primary sources of K-12 education funding.
  • Federal funding for two main federal K-12 education programs will have increased by $9.3 billion since 2001

  • ESEA, Title I: $13.3 billion
  • IDEA, Part B, Grants to States: $11.1 billion
  • Improving Teacher Quality: $2.9 billion
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $991.1 million
  • English Language Learners: $675.8 million
  • Impact Aid (schools impacted by military bases and other facilities): $1.2 billion