Human language

Border crisis hits New York schools amid influx of unaccompanied minors

The US border crisis is now a crisis in New York public schools.

The Biden administration is flooding communities in New York and Long Island with thousands of captured unaccompanied minor immigrants crossing the border between Mexico and the United States, often arriving here, as The Post recently reported, via reports. illegal flights in the middle of the night.

The arrival of these children, mostly adolescents, in local schools creates a classroom crisis that squeezes educational resources, costs taxpayers millions of unbudget dollars and helps gang recruitment efforts, say parents, teachers and immigration experts.

“We have reached our maximum capacity for children with special needs, but they will continue to send them,” lamented a high school teacher in Queens, among communities hardest hit by the illegal immigrant student dump.

New York City and Long Island are hotspots for shipping rounded up children illegally crossing the border without guardians, according to recent data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Fifteen counties across the country have received more than 1,000 unaccompanied children captured at the border over the past year, reported HHS. The top five counties on the list are all in Texas, California, and South Florida.

But four of those 15 counties are right here in New York City: Suffolk (1,528), Queens (1,314), Nassau (1,064) and Brooklyn (1,046). The Bronx almost made the list, with 461 unaccompanied students. New York is the only state in America with four counties hosting more than 1,000 unaccompanied minors, despite its distance of 1,700 miles from the southern border.

Data suggests that around 2,000 young migrants have arrived at Westchester County Airport just since August 8.

The 1,528 children released in Suffolk County are the sixth of all counties in the country. The HHS list only includes counties that took in 50 or more minors for the 11-month period from October 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021. Manhattan and Staten Island were not on the list.

These numbers are in addition to legal and illegal immigrant children arriving, or already living here, with their parents or guardian. An estimated 504,000 undocumented immigrants live in New York, according to a 2020 report from the city’s education ministry.

The increase in the number of migrant crossings during the Biden administration included 125,000 unaccompanied minors.

The resulting influx of unaccompanied children into local schools becomes “a gigantic unfunded and extremely unfair mandate for the communities that are forced to welcome these children,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “This poses enormous challenges for schools, a disruption in the quality of education for all and sometimes even a crime problem that did not exist before.”

A Brooklyn teacher said her ninth grade English class had 13 children from Ecuador alone, noting that educators are not aware of a child’s legal status.

“I think it’s good for New York City because our numbers are down. The school lost students during the pandemic, ”said the teacher. “That kind of evens the inscription.”

But unaccompanied immigrant children often surprise administrators, teachers, students and parents when they suddenly show up at local schools, many with special educational needs, minimal school time at home, and unable to speak English. Some of these children, from indigenous cultures in Central America, do not speak Spanish either, notes Vaughan.

From left to right ;  Justin Llivicura, Jefferson Villalobos, Michael Lopez Banega and Jorge Tigre were all victims of the MS-13.
(Left to right) Justin Llivicura, Jefferson Villalobos, Michael Lopez Banega and Jorge Tigre were all victims of the MS-13.

“Most parents aren’t even aware of what’s going on,” said Sam Pirozzolo, former president of the Staten Island Community Education Council, while those who are aware of the potential issues are afraid to raise politically incorrect concerns. amid a culture of angry cancellation that prohibits dissent.

“Parents are being assaulted, period,” he said. “They are already called national terrorists for defending their children. It’s hard enough to worry about your own kids, your own families, and neighborhood politics, but then you have to worry about another issue. Parents are under siege like this.

Flight tracking data suggests that around 2,000 underage migrants have arrived at Westchester County Airport on 21 flights since August 8.

“The city is not informed by the federal government of arrivals,” city hall officials told The Post. “But we are monitoring trends in published data and working with local service providers, especially legal service providers, to understand and resolve barriers to accessing city services.”

The majority of unaccompanied minors, 68 percent, are adolescents from Central American countries, HHS Reports, mainly in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, raising concerns that the program could serve as a pipeline for gang activity.

MS-13, a gang rooted in Central America and a magnet for teenagers, has infiltrated local high schools in recent years, with deadly results. Gang violence included a brutal quadruple homicide, three of the teenage victims, in Central Islip, LI, in 2017.

The MS-13 “deliberately took advantage” of the US policy on unaccompanied minors to “swell its ranks in the United States,” Vaughan said. “New York happens to be one of those regions where the leaders of the MS-13 clique have been invited to take advantage of our open border.”

Distressed schools and communities, those that can least afford to handle an influx of needy new students, end up paying the price.

“They (unaccompanied minors) don’t go to Eleanor Roosevelt High School, I’ll tell you,” the Queens teacher told The Post, referring to a top school with rigorous admission standards.

“They are never placed in filtered schools. It is essentially a cycle of rejecting children in schools that are not filtered… regardless of the district or geographic area. All you do is create more divisions in a system that is already divided.

The language barrier alone puts a strain on the city’s resources. The Brooklyn teacher told the Post his high school has seen a recent influx of teenagers from El Salvador and he was happy to accept them after enrollment fell during the pandemic. But now her school is running out of English as a New Language (ENL) teachers after two were kicked out for non-vaccination.

The US border crisis is now a crisis in New York public schools.
Brooklyn teacher said her high school has seen a recent influx of teenagers from El Salvador
Helayne Seidman

The city operates five English Language Learner (ELL) transfer schools for older immigrant teens, but four of them are in Manhattan, making it difficult for children to travel to immigrant hot spots in Queens and Brooklyn. . And there aren’t enough places for all newcomers, so they need to be placed in local schools that may not have the staff or resources to meet their needs, said Rita Rodriguez- Engberg, director of the Immigrant Student Rights Project for Children’s Advocates of New York.

“The biggest challenge is that the DOE doesn’t have enough local schools that support these students,” she said. “There are not enough school placement options, both for the older and younger (students). “

Worries about school failure, strained school resources and child victims of gangs add to the crushing financial burden new students place on taxpayers.

Schools in New York and Long Island spend an average of about $ 28,000 per student per year. The addition of nearly 6,000 students means an additional $ 156 million in tax burden because the federal government has pushed immigrant students into local communities.

The DOE declined to answer questions about funding for the education of unaccompanied immigrant minors.

“The federal government came up and said ‘we’re going to do social engineering in your schools and there’s nothing you can do about it,’” said Andrea Vecchio, founding member of the East Islip Taxpayers PAC, which started to fight against the arrival of unaccompanied minors under the Obama administration.

Small communities, like those on Long Island, struggle to meet the challenge of educating international students who one day show up at the door.

The small East Islip school system, which has just 3,350 students, had as many as 50 unaccompanied minors in 2019, before the pandemic sent children home. The current number is unknown, but “likely higher,” former school board member Phil Montouri said. Just 33 new students equates to about $ 1 million in additional annual costs – a large number for small communities.

Rodriguez-Engberg, whose group helps enroll newcomers in the city’s schools, said concerns about gangs were overblown.

“All of the students we serve are very anxious to go to school and are waiting for enrollment to happen so they can get their lives back on track,” she said.

The city opens its arms to all students, despite any external concerns.

“New York City is and always will be a welcoming city to immigrants and we are proud to serve every young person in New York City, regardless of their immigration status,” the spokesperson told The Post. from the Department of Education, Katie O’Hanlon.

“By law, every child in our city has the right to an education in a public school and we do not ask questions about immigration status. Education is a human right.

New York students deserve free public education up to 21 years, which means a 20-year-old man prepared for MS-13 could be sitting in class next to a teenage girl, Vaughan warns.

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