Majority of voters oppose free school, lawyers for illegal children

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By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times –

Photo by: Eric Gay Illegal immigrant children could increase the school-age population in districts, marking a significant influx of students likely to need intense help with English and other remedial education programs. No longer just a border problem, the surge is now an issue for officials in communities throughout the country, where 126 counties or cities have at least 50 children placed. (Associated Press)
Photo by: Eric Gay
Illegal immigrant children could increase the school-age population in districts, marking a significant influx of students likely to need intense help with English and other remedial education programs. No longer just a border problem, the surge is now an issue for officials in communities throughout the country, where 126 counties or cities have at least 50 children placed. (Associated Press)

Voters overwhelmingly reject extending legal protections to the new illegal immigrant children who surged across the U.S.-Mexico border this year, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll released Wednesday.

Less than a third of voters say they want illegal immigrant children to be housed in their home states, and 53 percent said the children shouldn’t be allowed to attend taxpayer-supported public schools.

The Supreme Court has ruled that all children, regardless of legal status, are entitled to primary and secondary education in public schools, leaving some districts to face a surge of children with poor or nonexistent English language skills and other psychological trauma issues.

The poll, of 1,000 likely voters, was taken Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday the Obama administration announced it would pay $9 million over two years to two nonprofit groups to provide lawyers for 2,600 of the children who have come across the border, traveling without parents.

That’s just a small fraction of the more than 66,000 who were caught between Oct. 1, 2013, and Aug. 31, 2014, but immigrant-rights advocates said it was a step in the right direction to make sure the children — whom they say are fleeing gang violence or domestic abuse in Central America — get a fair shake in U.S. immigration courts.

Voters are less certain that the children should be given extensive legal rights.

The Rasmussen poll found just 19 percent said the illegal immigrant children should “have the same legal rights and protections” that U.S. citizens have.