Question to Readers: Can we bring logic and civility to the Immigration Reform discussions? Must there be so much anger and rhetoric in this discussion? Do we really need to build more Walls? Do Children need to stop their education? Do we only enforce the "Rule of Law" on the Mexico border? Isn't there room for judgement where it makes sense to do so?
Case Study: For decades upon decades, small, sleepy border towns have led quiet lives. Parents worked. Their kids went to school. Citizens from both the US and Mexico lived on both sides of the border. Americans often bought houses in Mexico, but worked on the US side. The Mexicans, with green cards in hand, worked in the US, but walked across the bridge to go home each evening. This kept both sides of the border prosperous. Such was the case for the small, sleepy town of Del Rio, TX, just across the border from Cuidad Acuna, MX.
Now, times are changing. New enforcement and restrictionist policies are being imposed, primarily due to the surging levels of hate and anger in the immigration debate. Imposing these new enforcement measures, the local school superintendent says, "I'm just doing his job." He estimates 400 of his students do not live in his district and has directed district officials to stake out the Mexico bridge and warn students they could face expulsion if they don't prove they live in the district — a move that's brought complaints from civil rights groups and support from anti-immigrant proponents. The superintendent is violating these students' rights.
Immigration status shouldn't be an issue for these students. A decades-old Supreme Court ruling prevents school officials from even asking about citizenship. Additionally, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, students who use the bridge enter the U.S. legally because they are U.S. citizens, permanent residents with green cards or Mexicans with student visas. Those visas are used by Mexican students who pay tuition, primarily at parochial schools.
However, for tuition-free public school attendance, state law requires students to live in the district — a rule that many officials don't rigidly enforce. Some are uncomfortable with following the letter of the law because doing so could deny U.S. citizen children access to public schools. Also, turning away students cost the districts money. Texas schools get funding for each student. Statewide, it works out to about $9,400 per student, primarily from local property taxes and state supplements designed to balance rich and poor school districts. Additional grants from the federal government for low-income and special education students account for about $920 per student. Cooper estimates his district of 10,000 students would lose $2.7 million if 400 students were expelled. So not only will the school district lose $2.7M per year, the city can expect to lose countless millions in Sales Revenue, and countless businesses will close.
Some parents are very upset with the news. U.S. residents who have homes in Mexico are scrambling to find a local apartment within the district to ensure their children can stay in school.
In the meantime, Bob Dane, a spokesperson for the hate group FAIR, a John Tanton organization, cheered the superintendent saying said Cooper's bridge stakeout prevented parents from taking advantage of a "duty-free education." Bob Dane is NOT a resident of Texas.
US Superintendent tells Mexican residents attending schools: Prove Texas residency or leave