Crossing the border to school

Thousands of children who live in Mexico cross the border each day to attend U.S. schools, reports the Houston Chronicle. Their parents think U.S. schools are superior.

In El Paso, the Mexico-to-United-States trek to school is so commonplace that border officials opened a special lane just for students at one of the crossings this month. More than 1,200 passed through that lane from Mexico on a recent morning.

. . . there has been some grumbling about spending U.S. tax dollars to educate students living in Mexico, especially this spring as the city’s biggest school district prepares for a bond election. The El Paso Independent School District, which expects to take in 10,000 new students in the next five to eight years, will ask voters next month for permission to borrow $230 million for new schools.

Some border-crossing students are U.S.-born citizens, but schools can’t exclude students who are in the U.S. illegally, the Supreme Court ruled in 1982. Students must produce proof of residency in the district, such as a utility bill or a lease. Often they have a family member on the U.S. side with whom they claim to live.

Some Texas border districts are trying to crack down on out-of-district students, reports the Chronicle. On the other hand, across the state line from El Paso in Columbus, New Mexico, “school officials for years have sent buses to the border checkpoint to pick up students.” That makes no sense to me.

A friend of mine grew up in a Mexican border town in the ’40s and ’50s. He walked across the border every day to go to school on the U.S. side. But his family paid out-of-district tuition.

About Joanne


  1. It would be interesting to hear/read interviews with the teachers and administrators in that area.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Noblesse oblige with taxpayer money.

  3. George Robinson says:

    This is a total outrage…and is a perfectly sound reason to vote NO for any and every bond issue advanced by the district until it cleans up its act! We’re dying for money for people, materials and facilities, and our taxpayers pay for everything we have. Moreover, God help us if we’re not perfect stewards of public funds and public trust…so far, so good. But here we’re educating children from another COUNTRY for free (to them)??? Un-be-_____-able! Build the border wall, then secure it with automatic weapons the way Israel has done with its border in some areas. WE ARE UNDER ATTACK, and instead of fight back, we LAY DOWN, OPEN THE DOOR AND ROLL OUT THE RED CARPET??? Where am I living…I don’t recognize my country anymore.

  4. wayne martin says:

    The Supreme Court case which started all of this originated in Texas:

    Plyler v. Doe:

    Held: A Texas statute which withholds from local school districts any state funds for the education of children who were not “legally admitted” into the United States, and which authorizes local school districts to deny enrollment to such children, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    For many, the consequences of this Supreme Court decision have been seen as catastrophic to the US school system as it has been supportive of illegal immigration, which knows no bounds.

  5. Mark Roulo says:

    Some border-crossing students are U.S.-born citizens, but schools can’t exclude students who are in the U.S. illegally, the Supreme Court ruled in 1982.

    I understand the U.S.-born citizens. I don’t understand the “in the U.S. illegally.” If they have to cross the border each morning, they aren’t in the U.S. at all except for the schooling. Right?

    I must be missing something …

    -Mark R.

  6. so then can American Students cross the border to Mexico for schooling? OH.

  7. Mark, the real issue is whether they live in the school district. If they live in Mexico — whether they have U.S. citizenship or not — they don’t live in a U.S. school district. If they do live in the school district, they can’t be excluded from school for not being legal residents or citizens.

  8. This is crazy.

    In the town where I live, if a kid from one of the small, outlying towns wants to go to school in the (generally perceived to be better-quality) school district in my town, the parents have to pay a pretty whopping “out of district” tuition.

    (well, unless the kid’s a sports star, but that’s another issue)

    I wouldn’t have a problem so much with it IF the school districts were charging the Mexican parents “out of district” tuitions (heck, charge them “out of country” tuitions), but I suspect that’s not really happening in this case.

    I wonder if this happens with our “other” border – the one with Canada?

  9. wayne martin says:

    Unless Plyer vs Doe can be reconsidered by the Supreme Court, or the US Congress changes the constitution, this situation will continue.

    Most Districts do not consider capital costs when they compute “out-of-District” tuitions. While these numbers vary from place to place, $1,500 per student per year is not a bad rule-of-thumb. This money is paid by property owners. There might be a class-action suit lingering in the wings if a property-owners group thought about this a bit.

  10. Plyler is ripe for reconsideration, though. All that’s needed is a case.

  11. Cardinal Fang says:

    Plyer doesn’t require districts to educate students who don’t live in the district– for example, students who live in Mexico.

    As to students who *do* live in the district, do we really want children growing up in our country and not getting schooling? That seems like a bad idea, and more expensive than teaching them.

  12. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Do we really want children starving because we object to their parents robbing banks?

  13. Wayne Martin says:

    Technically, this is correct. However, the article implies, and we know it to be true in many school districts, that parents will lie to the District to get their kids enrolled, the Kids lie every day to their classmates and teachers, and in those cases where a family member signs an affidavit that they are a care giver and the child is housed in their domicile, that these people also will lie. Education seems to do not much but get people to lie a lot.

    In the Texas case, the reporter didn’t do quite enough investigation to find out if the kids in Mexico were legally American—born of non-residents, or if they claimed to be living in the District when they enrolled and then “moved” to Mexico during the semester. The general thrust of the article is that there was fraud involved, although because of Plyer, some of the cross-border enrollment might be legal.

    > As to students who *do* live in the district, do we really
    > want children growing up in our country and not getting
    > schooling? That seems like a bad idea, and more expensive
    > than teaching them.

    This has been the argument promoted by Liberals – with grim consequences to the school systems and other aspects of our civil government and quality of life. To make matters worse, knowing that their kids are guaranteed a public school education, it’s difficult to believe that this has not contributed greatly to the problem of illegal immigration, cultural diffusion, the loss of national sovereignty to define our borders and our immigration policy, the clear breakdown of law and order in places like Los Angles, where the police openly admit that they are outnumbered by gangs of illegals. The extremely negative consequences of Plyer can not be understated.

  14. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Perhaps the solution is to take the compliance cost out of the judicial budget.