Count the Miami-Dade School Board among those wading into immigration reform Wednesday.
Board members and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho gathered in a break from their monthly meeting to laud an immigration bill filed overnight in the U.S. Senate and support bringing millions of undocumented immigrants “into the legal economy.”
“For us, this is a matter of fairness, a matter of justice and obviously a matter of law and order,” said board member Carlos Curbelo. “Our current, broken immigration system costs the school district over $20 million a year that no one reimburses us for.”
In Miami-Dade, there are close to 70,000 foreign-born students enrolled in classes
Close to 1,000 new immigrant students enter classes on average each month, totaling about 11,000 a year, according to a district report released last month. Each likely costs the district about $2,000 more than those students who come from South Florida and don’t require additional language services, the report states.
“Often times we educate children that are undocumented,” said Curbelo, who requested the report. “They spend 10, or 12 years in our schools only to face deportation or in other cases to be denied access to higher education. These children reach dead-ends after we have invested tens of thousands of dollars in them.”
Curbelo hosted a news conference after the board unanimously supported his proposal Wednesday to endorse five principles of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group bringing together bipartisan mayors advocating immigration reform.
Among those principles: Bringing 11 million undocumented immigrants into the economy to pay taxes and attain a better education.