LEP Costs Skyrocketing in DC Region Public Schools
New Report by FAIR Shows Illegal Immigration Driving $2.4 Billion Cost
(February 10, 2015 — Washington, D.C.) - According to a new analysis by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Cost in Translation: English Language Education in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, the annual price tag for providing Limited English Proficiency (LEP) instruction and other services to illegal aliens residing in the District of Columbia and six Maryland and Virginia school districts now runs about $2.4 billion annually.
These costs will increase due to Obama administration policies, including granting de facto amnesty to younger illegal aliens and their family members, many of which flooded across the southern border last summer. Among the tens of thousands of school-age minors who entered in 2014, about 5,100 have been resettled in the Washington, D.C., metro area. These new arrivals join some 438,000 illegal aliens and about 100,000 U.S.-born children of illegal aliens already living there.
Education is paid for primarily by local governments. In addition to basic educational costs, local school districts have to pick up the costs of language instruction for non-English-speakers, as well as other programs such as free or reduced cost meals for this largely impoverished population.
Among Cost in Translation’s key findings:
- Nearly half, 45.8 percent of the Alexandria, Virginia, public school system’s budget is now devoted to the needs of LEP students who comprise nearly 30 percent of the student body. The Alexandria schools have experienced a 125 percent growth in its LEP population since the 2005-06 school year.
- Fairfax County, Virginia, carries the largest cost burden in the area, spending more than $676 million a year on education and services for more than 33,000 LEP students.
- Montgomery County bears the largest burden among Maryland school districts, spending more than $466 million on LEP students.
- Throughout the D.C. metro area, education costs for LEP students are about 50 percent higher than for English-speaking students. The costs for recently arrived unaccompanied minors are an additional 25 percent higher than other LEP students.
“This case study looks at just one metropolitan area and the burdens imposed by excessive immigration and unchecked illegal immigration on the community’s most vital service to its residents,” noted Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “In almost every corner of our nation, our failed immigration policies are resulting not only in huge costs to local taxpayers, but are diverting vital educational resources away from the needs of other children in those schools. As in the D.C. area, the children short-changed by the money being siphoned to provide for the needs of the LEP population are most often those from disadvantaged communities where educational resources are already strained.
“The negative impact on schools detailed in this report is being compounded by conscious decisions by the Obama administration to encourage and reward illegal immigration,” continued Stein. “Immigration laws exist in this country, and every other nation on Earth, in order to protect the vital interests of our citizens.
“Few interests are more important than the quality of education a society provides to its children. Unfortunately, for families living in the Washington metro area who cannot afford the $36,264 tuition to send their kids to the Sidwell Friends School, these interests are being sacrificed by the policies of this administration, and policies of local governments that place the concerns of illegal aliens above those of other residents,” Stein concluded.