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Cost of Educating Illegal Alien Kids: $1.2 Billion Per Year

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A new estimate from the Center for Immigration Studies puts the total cost of educating the 53,515 unaccompanied alien children the federal government placed in communities throughout the United States in FY2014 as high as $670 million per year – about $12,500 per child.

According to CIS, this estimate isn’t counting the kids who crossed the U.S. border unlawfully as part of a family unit, which would increase the amount exponentially.

It’s also not counting the some 27,520 kids the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) sent to U.S.-based sponsors in FY2015, or the 14,569 the agency says it’s already released in FY2016 (numbers as of Dec. 31).

Using CIS’s $12,500/child estimate, this would put the total taxpayer-born cost of educating unaccompanied alien children who’ve come into the United States in the last two and a half years at as much as $1.2 billion annually. This is before you count children who came to the U.S. as part of a family unit, and before adjusting for inflation.

The total also doesn’t account for illegal alien youths who were already living in the United States before the 2014 surge.

According to Jessica Vaughan, a CIS immigration expert who testified before a congressional committee last week on the recent immigration surge, this cost is most heavily concentrated in several high-capacity areas that are legally forced to deal with the mass numbers of illegal alien children -- most of whom are between the ages of 15 and 17 -- after ORR transplants them into the community. Areas that have been disproportionately affected by the influx include Los Angeles, Miami, Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. Metro area, and communities across New York and Texas, according to ORR’s county breakdown.

Vaughan also explains the cost of educating an illegal alien child are higher than the costs for native-born kids, largely due to a lack of prior quality education and because most of them require costly English language training.

Vaughan broke down the costs of educating illegal alien kids as reported by some of the most affected areas:

Other states report the following outlays per UAC student:

Texas: $9,500 (source: Texas Legislative Budget Board);

Florida: $8,900 per child plus $1,900 per UAC for special needs (source: Florida Department of Education) for a total cost of $30-$40 million per year;

Fairfax County, Va.: $14,755 per English Language Learner, for a total estimated cost per year for UACs of $14 million. (source: Fairfax County Supervisor);

National Average: $11,153-$12,608 (source: National Center on Educational Statistics)

Meanwhile, unaccompanied minors continued to pour across the Southwest U.S. border at a rate of about 100 per day in January, putting the total UAC apprehensions at 20,455 between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31, according to Customs and Border Protection.

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