The crisis at the southern border is overwhelming school systems in several metropolitan areas of the country, according to multiple reports.
New York City, Miami-Dade County, Denver and Chicago school systems have all had to adapt to the influx of migrants, according to reports. Border Patrol recorded more than 632,000 encounters of migrant families and unaccompanied children in fiscal year 2022 at the southern border and more than 365,000 in the first seven months of fiscal year 2023, according to federal data.
An estimated 16,000 migrant children have enrolled in New York City public schools since the fall, according to the New York Post.
New York City’s West 105th Street school has 535 students enrolled, which is 100 more than it can hold, due to a surge in illegal migrants coming to the area, according to the Post. In 2022, the school had 393 students.
As a result of the influx, the school has turned a music room, a science lab and a TV studio into classrooms, taking away prime afterschool and daily program spaces from students, according to the Post. Some parents at the school are furious over the issue.
“It’s just unacceptable,” said Anna Azvolinsky, who is the parent of two kids enrolled at the school. “These kids deserve better,” she added.
In Florida’s Miami-Dade County, more than 20,000 new migrant students have enrolled in public school so far this year, according to NPR.
“Some of these kids didn’t know their ABCs in second grade,” Milam K-8 Center teacher Emelia Bruscantini told NPR.
Milam K-8 Center Principal Anna Hernandez has never seen a surge like this, she told NPR.
“It’s just honestly, like, sometimes I come into the lobby, and there’ll be – like, the families are all over the place, like, just, you know, waiting,” Hernandez told NPR.
The CFO of Miami-Dade Public Schools Ron Steiger says the issue has been a budgetary burden. “It certainly puts a stress on our finances,” Steiger told NPR.
As the school year ends in Chicago, dozens of migrant students are enrolling at the last minute in the city’s public schools, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Migrant children living in city shelters can enroll in schools “even if he or she lacks health, immunization or school records, proof of guardianship, proof of residency, or any other documentation normally required for school enrollment,” Chicago Public Schools said, according to the Sun-Times.
Denver area schools have added 1,500 new students to their rolls as a result of more migrant children arriving in the area in the last year, according to an NPR report. The number of multi-lingual students in Denver schools has more than doubled since 2020.
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Denver Public Schools’ Manager of Multilingual Family Engagement Sary Portillo told NPR that “We’ve been meeting with families in shelters. We’ve met them in hotels. So when we had this large influx, we had at some points, like, 15, 20 students at a time that we had to register.”
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