Sanctuary policies have become a pox on America and weakened the nation in a growing number of areas. The most obvious area is preventable crime, and the number of innocent Americans killed and injured by illegal aliens is a national disgrace.
Less known is the degree to which unchecked, illegal mass migration into the country has strained our school system and reduced the quality of our children’s education. Chicago is Exhibit A.
Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers are currently on strike, fed up with their lack of resources and overcrowding in the classroom. School and extracurricular activities continue to be cancelled and are likely to remain so until an agreement can be reached between the Chicago Teachers Union, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson.
Like too many other communities today, Chicago has become a reckless sanctuary city. Its open-arms attitude towards illegal aliens is draining resources and degrading the quality of its school system. Instead of recognizing the harmful effects that illegal immigration inflicts on the city, elected officials instead double down on their permissive stance.
According to guidelines issued by the Illinois State Board of Education, “The immigration status of the parent or child has no bearing on the rights of the student to enroll. The laws of Illinois and the United States guarantee all students, including undocumented immigrant students, access to a free public education through grade twelve until the age of 21, regardless of immigrant status.”
Chicago is quite proud of its sanctuary identity. In April, local news outlets pushed back against President Trump when he threatened to send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities across the county. The Chicago Sun Times responded in an editorial claiming that Chicago is anything but “full,” insinuating that illegal immigrants do more good than harm and that Chicago will continue to accept as many illegals as they desire. If that is true, then why the outrage when Trump wanted to send them more of what they claim will only make their community better?
According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, “about 14 percent of schools exceed their capacity by six to 25 percent, and eight percent exceed it by more than 25 percent.” If Chicago is anything but full, then why are 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union refusing to return to their classrooms? Refusal to recognize that the illegal immigration surge is the root of the overcrowding problem is not going to help the parents who have to now take off work or pay for child care services, due to their children not being able to attend school.
David Stewart, author of the book Immigration and Education: The Crisis and Opportunities, detailed the connection between uncontrolled immigration and the impact that it has on schools. Stewart says, “The level of immigration is so massive, it’s choking urban schools … It’s bad enough when you have desperate kids with U.S. backgrounds who require massive resources.”
The Chicago Teachers Union, the Chicago School Board, and Mayor Lightfoot will eventually arrive at an agreement, but that won’t prevent another strike from occurring in the future. As teachers demand smaller class sizes, more resources, and higher wages, legal residents (including legal immigrants) can expect to see more and more of their paychecks being earmarked for the education of illegal aliens. If illegal immigration is not brought under control, then the children of taxpayers as well as low-income legal residents who pay little to no taxes will continue to receive an increasingly substandard education.
Chicago, like many other communities, has abandoned its legal resident families who rely on public resources. Taxpayers aren’t seeing their tax money result in better educational opportunities for their children. Children who attend CPS will continue to fall through the cracks and be forgotten, as pro-sanctuary elected leaders turn their focus to illegal aliens who are increasingly attending America’s public schools. There is no greater example than in the school system of how narcissistic politicians prioritize illegal aliens over their actual constituents.
Jill Greenwald is a public affairs specialist at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.
Also published at: Jill Greenwald, When Sanctuary Policies Win, Our Children Lose, LifeZette, October 29, 2019.