In February as federal lawmakers including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, were drafting immigration reform, Miami-Dade school board member Carlos Curbelo sought a district report to shine a spotlight on the challenges immigration poses to the nation’s fourth-largest school district.
Curbelo, a Republican political consultant who may challenge U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Miami, highlighted a key figure from the report while on Fox News with Rubio on May 24. Rubio has been trying to win over conservatives to the Senate’s immigration bill , which would create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The bill allocates billions for border security and provides visas for high-tech, agricultural and low-skilled workers.
Curbelo cited his school district as an example of the high costs posed by the current immigration system:
"We spend at our school system over $20 million every year as a direct result of the broken immigration system. The federal government doesn't reimburse us despite the fact that it is their fault. Why?
"Because, like you said, a lot of people overstaying their visas and in some cases the government lets families with children in, in the middle of school year, which imposes a burden on schools. So it can't just be the border. We all support border security, but it has to be a lot more than that."
Curbelo’s comments didn’t distinguish between costs associated with legal or illegal immigration.
Still, his figure caught our eye: do Miami-Dade schools spend more than $20 million a year educating immigrants? And how would that change if Rubio’s bill passes? Read more from PolitiFact Florida.