U.S. public schools are on track to become “majority-minority” this fall as the number of Hispanic and Asian school-age children born in the U.S. continues to grow at an astonishing rate, the Pew Research Center reported, citing U.S. Department of Education projections.
This impressive milestone also comes at a time when U.S. schools are preparing to admit approximately 50,000 illegal immigrant children who are entitled under the law to the same public primary and secondary schools as U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
However, what's interesting is that the influx of thousands of illegal student-age children is not the reason why U.S. schools will likely soon become “majority-minority.” No, that's because Asians and Hispanics are having more U.S.-born children.
What did you think would happen?
The decline in the number of white students comes at a time when "the total number of public school students has increased,” Pew reported.
“While whites will still outnumber any single racial or ethnic group this fall, their overall share of the nation’s 50 million public school students is projected to drop to 49.7 percent. Since 1997, the number of white students has declined by 15 percent, falling from 29.2 million to 24.9 million in 2014,” the report added.
“From 1997 to 2013, the number of Hispanic children ages 5 to 17 born in the U.S. jumped 98 percent, while the group’s immigrant population of the same age declined by 26 percent. Among Asians of this age, the number of U.S.-born Asians increased 50 percent during this time, and the immigrant population increased a more modest 9 percent,” Pew reported.
“Since 1997, the number of Hispanic students nearly doubled to 12.9 million, and the number of Asians jumped 46 percent to 2.6 million. The number of black students expected in schools this fall, 7.7 million, has been relatively steady during this time,” the report added.
Lastly, although the change in school demographics isn't due entirely to the steady influx of illegal aliens, the recent wave of unaccompanied minors will soon become a serious — and costly — problem for many U.S. schools.
"We haven't started school yet, so we are all just holding our breath to see what's going to come on the first day of school," Caroline Woodason, assistant director of school support for Dalton Public Schools in Georgia, said in a recent USA Today report.
Now, although the law regarding children and access to education is nothing new, the sheer number of unaccompanied minors poses a problem for many already-overburdened schools.
"This is a whole new wave of immigrant students that are coming without any guardians whatsoever," said Francisco Negron, general counsel for the National School Boards Association. "We don't know the educational background (of the students), if they've even been to school, the language issue and operational issues that could raise costs.”
And these costs will, of course, be passed on to the taxpayers.
“Once these minors come to the U.S., they are eligible for a wide array of benefits and it will be years before their case is ever heard in court,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
“Without immediate consequences for this illegal immigration, it will only encourage more illegal immigration and more dangerous journeys by children in order to take advantage of the administration’s failure to enforce our immigration laws,” he added.
The Obama administration has so far responded to the influx of unaccompanied minors by asking Congress for $2 billion to spend on addressing the issue.
Congress has turned down this request. Republican lawmakers argued that any plan that fails to address border security is simply a waste of money.
The Republican-controlled House sent a measure to the Senate to deal with the crisis, but Democratic leaders in that chamber quickly blocked it.