Many legal immigrants to the US are highly educated – something that is highly desired in an immigrant. In contrast, most illegal aliens are very poorly educated. The average education levels for Mexican fathers, a large component of the illegal alien population, and their U.S.-born children are at the bottom of the educational spectrum.
Uneducated immigrants, regardless of heritage or ethnicity, who have little interest in education, generally end up with poorly educated children. While the averages are already bad, the education gap between Mexican and non-Mexican natives is far larger than the simple averages would indicate.
- 45% of all non-Mexicans have a post HS degree
- 5.4% of first generation Mexicans have a post HS degree
- 9.3% of second generation Mexicans have such degrees
- 8.5% of third generation Mexicans have such degrees
- 9.6% of fourth generation Mexicans have such degrees
"So even in the fourth generation - after at least fifty to sixty years of "assimilation," it appears that the descendents of Mexican immigrants display scant interest in higher education. This is a stunning finding. It belies the expectation that college-based affirmative action programs would eventually level the education playing field."
- 14.6% of first-generation Hispanics are High School dropouts – versus 4.6% of first generation non-Hispanics
- 15.9% of second-generation Hispanics are High School dropouts – versus 8.2% of second generation non-Hispanics
Excluding the additional costs for subsidized school feeding programs, the average cost of educating children, including the children of illegal aliens, in the nation's public schools is about $7,524 per child per year. For a K-12 education, that is almost $100,000 per child.
A very high percentage of illegal aliens' children do not speak English. In the 2004/5 school year in Colorado, 114,857 students, almost 15% of the state's K-12 public school student population, were English language learners. The state does not ask about citizenship, so the cost of educating children of illegal aliens in Colorado public schools is unknown but somewhere between $500 million and $1.2 billion per year, depending on whose numbers you want to use for the number of children of illegal aliens that are in school. Thus, in Colorado, just the education costs for the children of illegal aliens is somewhere between $270 and $650 per household, an amount that would buy a lot of lettuce, even at twice the cost per head.
In the 2004/5 school year, Texas had about 690,000 ESL students. Nationally, there are an estimated 5.1 million ESL students speaking 145 languages. 80% of ESL students speak Spanish. If 90% of the ESL students are children of illegal aliens then the education costs for children of illegal aliens is about $34.5 billion per year.
Breaking the Piggy Bank: How Illegal Immigration is Sending Schools Into the Red notes that "The estimated costs of educating illegal aliens and their children exceed 28.6 billion dollars in 2004 alone." The report further notes:
A look at the top ten highest state expenditures provides a stark illustration of the trade-offs for accommodating large-scale illegal immigration:
In California, the $7.7 billion spent annually educating the children of illegal immigrants - nearly 13% of the overall 2004/5 education budget could:
- cover the education budget shortfall for the 2004-05 school year, estimated by the Legislative Analyst Office at $6 billion and nearly cover the $2 billion reduction this year from the Proposition 98 formula.
- or the remaining $1.7 billion could pay the salaries of about 31,000 teachers and reduce per student ratios, or furnish 2.8 million new computers - enough computers for about half of the state's students.
- prevent educational shortfalls estimated at $9.8 billion over the past four years that have impacted on "... class size, teacher layoffs, shorter library hours and fewer counselors, nurses, custodians and groundskeepers." (Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2005)
In Texas, the $3.9 billion spent annually educating the children of illegal immigrants could:
- cover more than the $2.3 billion shortfall identified by the Texas Federation for Teachers for such things as textbooks and pension contributions.
- make Texas' salaries for teachers more competitive by national standards, thereby reducing costly attrition, and recruit the 5,000 new teachers needed each year.
See the report for the other eight.
Almost all communities have schools that are being greatly affected by illegal aliens. While the majority of illegal aliens congregate in the bigger cities, rural and even high-end enclaves are also being affected. As an example, in Summit County, Colorado, home to 4 major ski areas and the high-end vacation towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, and Silverthorne, the ESL student population increased from 20 students in 1994 to 525 in 2003 – an increase of 2,625% in just ten years. Summit County may be able to increase taxes to come with the extra $3.8 million to pay for educating all the new ESL students but many poorer counties can't.
While the costs of educating children of illegal immigrants are crushing the primary and secondary school budgets, many institutions of higher education are competing to get illegal immigrants. As noted in a recruiting seminar, Helping Undocumented Students Navigate the College Pipeline:
"Based on three years of research, this webinar will offer up-to-date information about policies and practices to provide undocumented immigrant students with greater access to higher education. The session will include information about state and federal policies that shape college access for undocumented students and offer best practices for helping undocumented students persist through the college admissions, college attendance, and financial aid acquisition processes."
The poor education level of illegal aliens dooms most to poverty level jobs in the USA and prevents them from climbing the economic ladder of success. This factor has related social costs that are enormous – a subject covered in following sections.
However, the direct cost of educating the children of illegal aliens is somewhere between $29 and $35 BILLION dollars a year. You can add in another billion or two for the costs of supplemental feeding programs and other welfare benefits administered through the schools but which are off the "education costs" in the school budgets.
Most illegal aliens are working in lower paying jobs are often sharing houses and apartments with other families. Most pay little or no state or federal income taxes and, because they have low incomes and frugal lifestyles, they pay little sales taxes as well. The local and state taxes illegal aliens pay, comes no where near paying for the education costs of their children. The difference is picked up by the tax paying public. Since many localities fund public schools through real estate taxes, this often means escalating taxes which put an enormous burden on elderly home owners living on fixed incomes.
This has added more collateral damage costs to the "victimless crime" that taxpaying Americans must shoulder in order to save ten cents on a head of lettuce.