The Impact of Mass Immigration on Texas Public Schools

The state of Texas has experienced an overwhelming, and unsustainable increase in the number of public school students from immigrant households, regardless of their legal status.  A recent report from the Center for Immigration Studies found the number of students from immigrant households in Texas has nearly doubled from 17% in 1990 to 31% in 2021. To make matters worse, an estimated 29% percent of public school students in Texas are in the state illegally.

This massive demographic shift, brought on by legal and illegal immigrants, imposes significant financial and cultural challenges for public education in Texas. However, the lawmakers representing Texas citizens in Washington, D.C. and in Austin have done nothing to alleviate the problem.

The federal government is complicit in enabling illegal immigration– allowing the Texas Border to be controlled by narco-terrorist cartels and invaded by illegal aliens. And the federal government has continued to allow massive levels of unchecked legal immigration without Congressional debate or approval.

While Texas could lead on many of these issues, Texas legislators likewise failed to advance any effective border security legislation in the regular session of the 88th Texas Legislature. Legislation to provide for a Border Protection Unit to repel and remove illegal aliens died in the Texas House. So too did legislation to end state subsidies for illegal aliens like in-state tuition or to stop them from taking American jobs by requiring employers to use the E-Verify system.

The result is a de facto encouragement of further illegal immigration whereby foreign nationals are incentivized to migrate into Texas to gain better employment for themselves and access to a full and free public education for their children. This does not account for the costs of linguistic barriers and cultural differences leading to radically different classroom environments, civic culture, and ultimately academic outcomes for modern children than the ones their parents experienced.

These factors, combined with indoctrination schemes like Critical Race Theory, Radical Gender Theory, and “diversity” promotion have made Texas school culture less like the classic Friday Night Lights TV-series and more like a Left-wing college campus.

Those changes have led many Texas parents to retreat from public schools altogether, putting their children in private schools or opting to homeschool them. Texas homeschool rates tripled in the year 2020 alone, from 4.5% to 12.3%. Peggy Semingson, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington who studies homeschooling rates says, “[Parents] wanting to have more control over their child’s education, bullying [and] the culture wars.” 

The withdrawal of children from families of citizens only exacerbates the cultural shifts within public schools and makes the assimilation of immigrant children and those from immigrant households even more difficult all while increasing costs.

A separate report released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform reveals ESL (English as a Second Language) students alone cost Texas approximately $11.4 billion annually. This presents a lose-lose situation for Texans, as a growing number of immigrant households are characterized by lower incomes, linguistic and cultural enclaves, and opposing values on state sovereignty, freedom of speech, and the right to self-defense, which all pose significant challenges to assimilation in the public education system and American society.

The Cleveland Independent School District serves as a concrete example of the consequences of demographic shifts caused by mass immigration. In CISD, where once 40% of 3,693 students were Hispanic, today, 90% of its 10,875 students are. In 2021, 22% of U.S. public school students spoke in a foreign language while home, compared at 9% in 1980. 

Besides overcrowding, language barriers, and disciplinary challenges facing the public school system as a result of mass immigration, the skyrocketing student enrollment increase is causing a major strain on school spending and budget. By 2026, student enrollment in CISD is set to double, with a projected price tag of $1.2 billion  over the next decade. CISD has even resorted to hiring foreign-born teachers through specialist worker visas to teach ESL classes to immigrant students. Illegal immigration is driving even more immigration.

These challenges are not unique to CISD. School districts throughout Texas are grappling with similar issues. In areas like Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, it can be estimated up to one in four public school students is an illegal alien. In terms of total population, an estimated 7.5 percent of Texas’s 30 million inhabitants are illegal aliens.

Texas voters have never consented to such an arrangement. They’ve consistently elected lawmakers who promised to enforce the laws on the books and stop illegal immigration, yet the border has only deteriorated with each passing decade. They’ve consistently voted for politicians who promised to put American citizens first and provide better paying jobs for American citizens, yet unprecedented levels of legal immigration have flooded the country with foreign workers who are often trained by the very citizens they are hired to replace.

Texas voters deserve lawmakers who treat the immigration issue seriously and provide them with serious and substantial solutions to end the invasion of illegal aliens that controls the influx of legal immigrants as well. How many individuals, where they come from, what kind of vetting procedures, and other questions are ones that should be answered with input from citizens and imposed by leaders committed to putting their interests first.

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