When school starts in September, Virginia taxpayers will find themselves footing the bill for some of the thousands of undocumented school-age children who have come here in recent months.
The Virginia Department of Education is echoing the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education in saying that schools “may not deny a free public education to undocumented school-age children who reside within their jurisdiction because they do not hold valid United States citizenship or a student visa.”
Last month, the state’s Department of Education sent memos to school superintendents reiterating the Supreme Court ruling in Plyler v. Doe, which said children have equal access to basic education, regardless of citizenship status.
And this week, the department clarified in another email to school superintendents that undocumented minors, if unaccompanied and unsupervised, should be treated as homeless students and thus granted an education without requiring proof of residing in the district.
The state spends about $10,500 per pupil, and illegal immigrant students are no exception.
Last week on a radio program, a listener asked Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe how he planned to address the immigration issue in terms of jobs and schools. But the governor didn’t directly answer the question, dubbing it a federal issue and saying, Virginia “doesn’t have a problem.”