From: Vincent Chiarello (e-mail him)
For those who have toiled in the fields trying to convince America’s political class of the real costs, financial and societal, involved in illegal immigration, few have been as summarily dismissed as those related to education. Since the (five to four) 1982 Plyler vs. Doe Supreme Court decision, it is now incumbent on localities not only to teach children of illegal aliens, but also to make sure that any and all costs, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), are not considered a barrier to fulfilling that mandate.
On September 9, The Washington Post, not considered a media outlet to emphasize the financial burden of immigrants, legal or otherwise, to the region, in a story on p.1 wrote of the actual costs to taxpayers in Fairfax County of Northern Virginia where I reside. [Number of Fairfax students who speak a foreign language at home to surpass 50 percent ]The costs are staggering, and for those in other locales, to use the phrase of California's Victor Davis Hanson, Fairfax Country may well be another “canary in the coal mine.”
Fairfax County, whose educational system is still considered a magnet to draw families because of its high quality, now has 31,500 students, or 17% of the student population, who are projected to enroll in ESOL classes. Each student in ESOL costs the county about $3,300 per student, which means that the county will now have to shell out more than 25 million dollars in additional costs. I believe that, aside from salaries and capital improvements, ESOL now becomes the most costly item in the Fairfax School budget. Since there is no such thing a free lunch, that means that the taxpayers see another increase in their taxes.
The influx of foreign families into Fairfax has been a work in progress for decades. About 25% of the county's residents are foreign born, and "one third speak a language other than English at home." But the real clue to ESOL is found in these nuggets:
I submit that the overwhelming number of ESOL students in Fairfax are from families here on "work permits" from Salvador, three decades after their civil war ended, or illegal aliens. In either case, the responsibility falls on the leadership of both Republican and Democratic Parties, which, for their own purposes, have allowed this festering sore to burrow deep into our civil society, including criminal gangs that now are a part of life in the county.
For years, the American Council for Immigration Reform, of which I was a member, sought from Virginia State legislators an approximate dollar cost, including education, of the price of illegal aliens in the state. The Democratic Party, and even some Republicans, blocked that effort at each turn.
Not that it will do much good, but I would like to thank The Washington Post for doing what state legislators were unwilling to do: set a price tag to one, and only one, of the costs borne by taxpayers for the presence of illegal aliens in our midst.
Chiarello is a retired Foreign Service Officer whose tours included U.S. embassies in Latin America and Europe. See Vincent Chiarello's previous letters to VDARE.com.