Biden's border crisis is 'wreaking havoc' on K-12 schools, says top GOP lawmaker

While crime and housing are often at the forefront of illegal immigration discussions, a top GOP lawmaker said this week that the toll it takes on public schools and students is wrongly being overlooked.

In a lengthy interview with Fox News Digital, Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fla., chairman of the House Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, said the migrant influx from the porous southern border is “wreaking havoc” on U.S. schools.

“Right now, that we know of, 10 million illegals have entered the country illegally under Joe Biden for the last three years. We say ‘we think we know.’ We really don’t know,” he said.

“Because now there’s a term … gotaways. We believe that approximately 500,000 illegal children are now in this country. And one of the very first places we feel the impact of illegal immigration is our K-12 schools.”

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Bean said his committee heard from representatives from school districts in both red and blue states who told shocking stories of how they have handled ever-increasing enrollments of foreign national juveniles.

“We heard [of] teaching in the hallways. We heard of massive use of resources to scramble to hire teachers that teach in foreign languages — In fact, one school district has over 17 different languages that they have had to hire for. That’s just a vast draining of resources.”

Bean’s Republican colleague, House Education Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., echoed some of his comments from his Wednesday interview. 

Foxx, whose Blue Ridge Parkway district is far-flung from Mexico, said every state is a border state given the current crisis.

“I’m very sorry for all of these children who are coming unaccompanied … they can’t find bilingual teachers … I’m from North Carolina, and it’s already hard enough to find any teachers, let alone teachers who can speak other languages.”

Bean also told the story of a teacher who recounted having a migrant student in her class who appeared to be in his 20s, while claiming to be 18 on his documentation.

“It’s just happening more and more. I think it is because everything’s out of control. Enough. Let’s fix this border. Let’s get back to American schools doing what we do best, which is teaching our students math, reading and science.”

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“We’re hoping that Joe Biden was watching our hearing. If he didn’t, maybe he’ll be watching this news story — that illegal immigration is wreaking havoc on our K-12 school system. It’s got to stop.”

Bean said the negative effects of illegal immigration puts a further strain on U.S. schools, which are still reeling from COVID-19 lockdowns and the abrupt shift to remote learning. 

He said the results of both crises are seen in standardized test scores, which he calculated to be the worst in about 20 years.

“We’re now competing against China and India and other countries that want to do us harm. We’ve always banked on the fact that our educational system is among the best in the world. We can’t say that right now,” Bean said. “So why do we want to dilute the resources, the limited resources we [have] by this massive influx?”

Bean predicted that President Biden and some Democrats will argue that the White House is indeed taking action to stem the tide of illegal immigration and therefore lessen the blow to the public school system. However, he characterized Biden’s recent border-related executive order as a misnomer.

“I think [his order] has more holes than Swiss cheese,” he said. “The way it’s done, it really doesn’t shut down the border. It says, OK, we’re going to have 2,500 come back. How do you know that? The border is either shut down or it’s not. 

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“Hopefully, if Joe Biden can’t shut down the border, maybe there’s somebody that’s coming in behind him that can,” he said, in an apparent reference to former President Trump.

In regard to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Bean said he engaged in a game of “Congressional Blame-Game Bingo” during his Tuesday hearing, wherein he predicted a series of buzzwords and politicized terms that he would hear when his critics were presented with a viewpoint they disagreed with.

Bingo terms included “it’s Trump’s fault,” “xenopobia” and “blame Republicans.”

The latter, he said, stems from a common campaign allegation that the GOP does not seek to properly fund schools. Bean said that, instead, massive amounts of money are being spent on U.S. education with little to show for it.

During the hearing, Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., pushed back on Bean’s claims the influx of migrant students matriculating through the education system is a crisis.

“This idea that immigrant students are a hindrance on public education: I would challenge you to look across the country at your valedictorian or your salutatorian or your top 10 in any high school class, and you’re going to find a first generation immigrant,” Hayes said. 

“You’re going to find students who, as soon as they overcame the language barrier, showed that their lack of English proficiency was not a measure of intelligence.”

She also said former President Trump wants to abolish the Education Department, which she characterized as proof of Republicans’ unserious tact on the overall issue.

When asked to respond to Bean’s comments and the hearing writ-large, Rep. Robert Scott’s, D-Va., office directed Fox News Digital to Rep. Suzanne Bonamici’s opening statement at Bean’s hearing.

In her remarks, Bonamici accused committee Republicans of using the forum to undermine the 1982 Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe, which affirmed education as a fundamental right regardless of immigration status.

Bonamici said Republicans are wrongly “scapegoating migrant children” and should instead focus on keeping kids safe by addressing gun violence and other issues.

In response to an inquiry about Bean’s hearing, the Department of Homeland Security pointed Fox News Digital to a recent interview between Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, in which the cabinet member told “Your World” it is imperative to resurrect and pass the most recent border control legislation.

“That bipartisan Senate bill would deliver for us changes to 30-year-old laws that are incredibly needed. We’re dealing with a terrifically broken asylum system, and it would deliver for us resources at a level that we desperately need that we do not have,” Mayorkas said in-part.

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House but did not receive a response.

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