LAMAR SMITH (U.S. Representative R-Tex.: Immigration: We Have Choices : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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[ ] Immigration: We Have Choices

Saturday, February 10, 2001; Page A22

We can have no honest discussion about dropout rates, costs or student performance in this country without acknowledging the impact of our nation's immigration policy on education reform. Today, immigration accounts for more than half our population growth. Almost one-third of all immigrants lack a high-school education, and most do not speak English.

In Texas, one-quarter of young students are the children of immigrants. They drop out three times as often as other students. Texas has to build two new schools a week to keep up with enrollments.

California taxpayers spend $3.5 billion a year to educate foreign-born school-age children, and Miami schools accept 1,200 new foreign-born students every month.

We might expect second-generation immigrants to do better. Among Hispanics who make up more than half the immigrant population, however, the dropout rate is even higher for the second generation.

This does not augur well for immigrants, who will have difficulty finding jobs and supporting their families.

We have a choice: Change immigration policy or give priority to immigrants with skills and education or, in the alternative, begin immediately to spend an additional billion dollars annually for schools.


U.S. Representative (R-Tex.)


The writer is a member and former chairman of the House immigration subcommittee.

-- K. (, February 18, 2001

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