AWCheney’s Forum On Immigration

Illegal Aliens and Public Education

Without question, the education of our children is an absolute imperative, and federal law requires the public school education of all children from kindergarten through grade 12, regardless of residence or legal presence in this country. So, there is no question as to whether we will or will not provide education for children of illegal aliens, we will, like it or not.

However, maybe I’m odd, but I’m not “rich” and I like to know what I pay for things…whether I can do without it or not. For example, I can’t do without groceries, but when I go to the store to buy, I know how much I pay for potatoes, milk, peas, hamburger and steak. Then, if I decide to pick up a six-pack of beer on top of all that, I know how much that will cost me. I might ask myself if I can afford it or not? Then, deciding yes, after I check-out, I know the total cost, the cost of each item and I even know how much tax I had to pay on my purchases. Similarly, I am curious as to how many tax dollars are spent educating those who are in this country illegally…not that I can do anything about it, I can’t, but just as I like to know how much I pay for potatoes, I like knowing how my tax dollars are spent, and in particular, I’d like to know what I’m paying to educate those who shouldn’t be here in the first place.

It has been estimated that nationally, $12 Billion is spent each year on primary and secondary education of children who are in this country illegally, and another $17 Billion is spent educating “anchor babies,” American-born children of illegal aliens.
LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, The Debate Over Immigration & Border Security Continues, Aired April 1, 2006 – 18:00 ET.

Well, being the curious one that I am, I thought I’d go to the Prince William Schools website (Prince William County Approved School Board Budget Fiscal Year 2009 ) to see how much of OUR tax dollars support education of illegal alien children and those children born in this country of illegal aliens. Now, before you try this, let me warn you, it’s not something to be done while waiting for your wife to finish putting on her make-up.

This 426 page document doesn’t read exactly like a novel, and in addition to documenting the outstanding accomplishments of the school system and its teachers and staff, it outlines every credit and expenditure in the approved budget. Just to give you an idea of the detail, it includes the big-ticket items such as the Superintendent’s salary ($248,865) and the salary of ten associate superintendents ($1,515,600 ) — let’s see, if my math is correct, that’s an average of $151,560 per. It goes on to give a great deal of clarity into education finances, for example the Executive Administration department has budgeted $8,739 for printing services during FY2008 – FY2009. During this same time frame, the Communications Services Department has budgeted $500 for rental equipment. So, suffice it to say, if you want to know what our school system pays for something, you’ll find it there!

Well, at least that’s what I thought, but when it comes to my original question, “How much do we pay for the education of illegal alien children,” I couldn’t find it. OK, well, that’s a sizable expenditure, I’m sure, and in all those 426 pages, I must have just missed it, so I asked my school board representative. In short order, my request for information was forwarded to the Superintendent, who forwarded it to the Assistant Superintendent, who forwarded it to one of the Associate Supervisors for a response. Well, I recognize that this is a very busy time of the year for the school system, so I was patient and finally received a response concerning the question of how many illegal alien children, or children of illegal alien parents attend PWC schools.

The long and the short of it is, they don’t know. From the Director for the Office of Student Services, Prince William County Public Schools, here’s the response I received:

“School Division staff does not ask students or parents about their citizenship or visa status. The Virginia Department of Education provided specific information regarding such inquiries in Superintendent’s Memo No. 140 dated July 27, 2007. This information indicates that “Pursuant to a decision by the United States Supreme< Court, school divisions are not permitted to inquire into a prospective student’s citizenship or visa status in order to enroll the student. School divisionsare required to accept students who meet residency requirements under * 22.1-3 of the Code of Virginia and may not deny free public education to undocumented school-age children who reside within their jurisdiction because they do not hold valid United States citizenship or a student visa.” Therefore, if parents provide school staff with appropriate documentation (per Regulation 346-1, Tuition) proving residency in PWC, their students are enrolled in school.”

Well now, doesn’t that seem a bit odd — we know what the school system pays for printing services, athletics, and the music department…and we know how many children are categorized as having learning disabilities, but we’re not allowed to know how many students being educated at taxpayer expense are in this country illegally.

So, I guess that until we can get the Supreme Court “fixed” or the Virginia Department of Education “fixed” — and that’s not likely to happen soon — I’ll just have to be content with knowing what I pay for those things that they want me to know about. Oh well, what comes next, an “international flag” over our state house?

Si Senor….

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September 7, 2008 8:03 pm Posted by | Op-Ed | , , , , | 8 Comments

A REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY?

By way of introduction, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a statesman, and I aspire to be neither; I am an average American citizen who grew up on a Kansas farm, managed to get through college and retired as an Air Force Officer. Seventeen years later, I retired again, this time from a major Defense Contractor here in the Washington DC area. So, with that, it’s clear – I have no special credentials, I’m just the typical American citizen. However, I am convinced that our government is failing us and we must act, and we must act now.

As citizens and voters in a representative democracy, we have a responsibility to become informed of issues which face our country. Rarely will we find a candidate who represents our every view, and thus we must make compromises, and when the time comes, we have the responsibility to vote for those candidates whom we believe will best represent our views in the conduct of official government business. One hundred Senators, 435 Representatives, one President and nine Supreme Court Justices. Those 545 human beings represent you and they represent me. But do they really? Do they truly represent us or do they rely upon an ego-based infusion of super-human intelligence resulting from victory on election day to represent this country?

Some of us send our Congressmen E-Mails, letters, and even call them on the phone to express our views, but when was the last time that a seated politician came to your door, called you on the phone, or sent you a survey to ascertain your view on a particular issue pending in the House or the Senate? Their campaign workers call, asking for money, but to ask for your opinion and advice on issues? Rarely. I always thought our politicians were supposed to work for us and by that, I mean, represent us, ascertain and represent the major opinion. I don’t need them to wave as convertible-chauffered celebrities during the 4th of July parade nor do I need them to show up at a community improvement work-day for a glad-hand photo-op in a business suit. No, I don’t want them to be reclusive either, but I see them as workers, not as movie star or the athlete-like celebrities. The ego trip associated with political success often leads to the conviction that by virtue of being theirs, their vote on issues is automatically the best for us commoners. If they do not know the view of their constituents, how can they represent their constituents? They don’t, they represent their own view.

There is no single issue facing our country where the failure of politicians to learn and represent is more glaring than in the area of immigration and the enforcement of our federal immigration laws. Continue reading

July 31, 2008 6:29 pm Posted by | Op-Ed | , , , , | 19 Comments