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Tom Horne: Taxpayers Shouldn't Have to Educate Mexican Residents

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Tom Horne, Arizona's superintendent of public instruction, is asking the state legislature to require charter schools to adhere to the same law that public schools must follow: that they be prohibited from educating students who are residents in Mexico but cross the border just to attend school. Now, Horne said, charter schools are exempt from the requirement.

Horne says in a press release he put out today that he recently learned "taxpayers are paying a charter school for educating students who are residents of Mexico and who cross the border to attend." The schools chief notes that while Arizona is required to provide a free public education to undocumented students, it's not required to educate the residents of another country.

In my visits to a number of Arizona and Texas border towns over the years, I have found the notion of a Mexican "resident" a bit murky. I've interviewed quite a few students, for example, who live with relatives or siblings on the U.S. side of the border and attend U.S. public schools, but whose parents live on the Mexican side of the border.

I've also interviewed one youth who is likely the kind of person that Horne believes shouldn't be enrolled in U.S. schools. Because he was born in the United States, the young man was a U.S. citizen. But he lived in Mexico (with his girlfriend and child there) and walked across the border each day to attend school in the United States.

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So how is Tom Horne going to find out who lives in Mexico without breaking the law? The law clearly states that a school district can't ask questions or require documents that would cause the family to reveal their immigration status. It can require proof of residency in a certain district and that is true in both public and charter schools.

This is another example of how complicated the whole immigration situation is - who gets to go to school, who shouldn't, who qualifies for in-state tuition, etc. We've agreed to educate children of both legal and illegal status, so it's not as simple as some people think - you can no longer say, "I'm entitled to American schools, and you're not." I really feel for those schools along our border, where these decisions are difficult, & funding is limited.

I am speaking to endorse Barak Obama to speak to children. We need this! I am a conservative, but education always saves money in the long run. Please speak up for health care. (universal)

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