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I want to discuss an issue that is important to border counties along the Texas-Mexico border. One of those particular areas is in Del Rio, Texas. It's a border town that borders Mexico. Every day, students from Mexico cross from Mexico into the United States to go to American schools. Some of those individuals have visas to go to private schools. But the vast majority of them, it appears, do not have any type of visas to go to American schools. And they come in and go to our public schools.
On the first day of school this year, the superintendent of the San Felipe Del Rio School District had counted the people that came across into the United States and told those individuals, through other people, that they had to have visas or they could not go to public schools or private schools.
550 students crossed into the United States, and only 150 of them had visas, presumably, to go to private schools. The rest of those went to public schools.
Now this is not an issue of citizenship, because the Supreme Court has stated--and I think incorrectly so--that if a person is in the United States, they can go to the public schools in this country, regardless of whether they're a citizen or not.
This is an issue of living in the district, the school district where these kids go to school. Under Texas law, you must live in the district to be allowed to go to public school. Now this applies to everybody, citizens and noncitizens.
For example, if somebody is from Oklahoma, they can't go to a public school in Texas because they don't live in the district. The same is true of foreign students, whether they are legal or illegal.
And so the reason for this is because in Texas most of the money that goes to support public schools comes from property taxes. That's where people who live in that school district, they pay the money for people to go to the school.
It's an increasing problem along the Texas-Mexico border because more and more schools are being built, and the reason they are being built is there are people who live in other districts and many of them in foreign countries that cross the border every day, go to public school in the United States, do not live in the district, and, of course, they don't help pay for those schools that are being built to serve them.
Well, I was down on the Texas-Mexico border not too long ago. I stood on the bridge between El Paso and Mexico. One morning, hundreds of kids came across the border. I'm standing on the international border, turning around and looking at the kids coming into the United States.
These are a bunch of high school students going to our public schools. Down here are a bunch of elementary going to our schools. And some of them are going to private schools as well.
What happens is the cost for supporting people who don't live in these districts, many of them foreign nationals, many of them illegally in the United States, goes to the people who live in those districts. And it seems to me that it's only fair that people should not be going to public schools in the United States if they don't live in the districts that have to support their education, free to them but not free to the other people who live in those districts, through property taxes.
So I commend those border counties, those small school districts, those areas of the State of Texas that are poor to begin with for having to continually raise property taxes--taxes that have to be paid by legal immigrants, paid by American citizens--to pay for the education of people that don't even live in the United States.
I think the time has come for us to enforce the border, enforce the rule of law in the United States, and to prevent people who, every day--not at their expense--cross the border, go to the schools in the United States, to public school, don't live here, don't pay for that education, but expect and make somebody else pay for that.
That's just not right. And I commend those school districts that are trying to get a grasp on the cost of education for people who live in those small rural areas and those counties along the border of the United States and Mexico, because those people who live in those areas foot the bill for the expense of public education.
And that's just the way it is.
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