10.3% of Illinois’ K-12 Students Are Illegal Immigrants Or Anchor Babies
Illinois, once known for its thriving industrial base and high standard of living, is now renowned for its crippling debt and economic mismanagement. Indeed, it’s on the verge of bankruptcy. Its credit is all but junk.
And while most of its economic problems can be chalked up to incompetence, the costs associated with illegal immigration has played a small (but important) role—as seems to be the case in all democratic states.
And what’s the biggest cost associated with harboring illegal immigrants? Education.
According to data from the Migration Policy Institute, there are 198,000 children in the state of Illinois who are either illegal immigrants (24,000) or anchor babies (174,000)—the vast majority of whom are likely educated at public expense.
Pinning down the cost of illegal immigration on the education system should be an easy task, but it’s not. Why? Because according to the Illinois State Board of Education’s guidelines:
School districts are prohibited from requiring Social Security numbers, which are not required to determine eligibility for any education benefits (including pre-K services) or other benefits, such as free or reduced lunch. Schools are required to provide undocumented immigrant students all the same benefits and services made available to other students.
Basically, the Illinois State Board of Education doesn’t keep track of which students are US citizens, and which aren’t—and even if they did, they specify that illegal immigrants must receive the same treatments as US citizens.
And of course, since this article’s concerned with the impact of illegal immigration as a phenomena, we’re also interested in the costs associated with anchor babies (people born on US soil to aid the parents in circumventing US immigration law), who wouldn’t be in America but for their parent’s illegal act.
Now, although Illinois doesn’t track its students legal status, we can put two-and-two together.
We know that the total public school enrollment for Illinois in 2016 was 1,929,660 students (K-12).
Likewise, we know that the vast majority of illegal immigrants attend public schools.
This means that roughly 10.3% of children educated in Illinois are either illegal immigrants or anchor babies—that is 1 in 10 K-12 students in Illinois.
Illinois Spends $1.41 Billion On Education For Illegal Immigrants and Anchor Babies
Despite the fact that Illinois hasn’t passed a budget in years, they nevertheless still fund public education.
According to Illinois’ comptrollers office, Illinois spent $13.7 billion for education in 2016 on public K-12 education. This is down from 2015, when it spent $16.5 billion for education. Every dollar counts.
Now, given that 10.3% of Illinois’ students are there because of illegal immigration, and they get the same funding as every other student, this means they cost $1.41 billion in additional education costs.
Of course these are just the financial costs, and the estimate doesn’t factor in the costs down the road from a lower quality education system (caused by crowded classrooms and potential language barriers).
But as bad as it is, I suppose the people of Illinois should be glad they aren’t in California.