Baltimore-area district flooded by students with unknown legal status
(Washington Examiner) – Seven of 10 new students in a Baltimore-Washington area school district are immigrants, their legal status unknown and their second language English, according to a series of new media reports about the impact of surging immigration on local communities.
A recent Baltimore Sun report said that of the 5,000 new students jamming Baltimore County schools in the past five years, 3,500 are “recent immigrants or children whose family speak another language.”
That has helped to double the percentage of students who speak English as a second language, part of a national trend.
And WBAL TV in Baltimore said that there has been a 130 percent surge of students enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages over the past 10 years, up 12 percent in the past year alone.
The Sun said that the addition of new and mostly immigrant students is enough to fill a new school every single year. It also said that the system does not know the legal status of the new students and that under a 1982 Supreme Court decision all students have to be accepted.
It has put great pressure on the system’s ESOL program and prompted the county, which surrounds Baltimore, to scramble to hire more teachers with second language skills.
Most are from Central America, but the Sun added that a sizable minority are from Nigeria.
It is a trend.
The Center for Immigration Studies recently found 700 immigrant-saturated school districts where half of the new students are from immigrant households.
In the Washington communities the percentages are even higher than in Baltimore County. CIS said that 78 percent of the students in Annandale and West Falls Church, Va. schools are from immigrant homes.
“The number of children from immigrant households in schools is now so high in some areas that it raises profound questions about assimilation. What’s more, immigration has added enormously to the number of public school students who are in poverty and the number who speak a foreign language. This cannot help but to create significant challenges for schools, often in areas already struggling to educate students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said the CIS report.