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Education News

Texas Received Most Unaccompanied Immigrant Children, But State Reports Little Impact at School

More than 7,000 immigrant children found homes in Texas; more than half of those came to Harris County.


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Over the summer, news about unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the Texas border made huge headlines.

Where did all the children go? The Pew Research Center has been investigating.

Immigration authorities released almost 54,000 children to sponsors this past year.

One in three of those children went to homes in three states while they wait for immigration hearings.

Texas tops the list with more than 7,000 unaccompanied minors. Of those, more than half came to Harris County.

Their arrival had education authorities bracing for their enrollment in school.

“I really anticipated that we would get a lot of calls from school districts asking what to do saying their enrollment was increasing dramatically and that just didn’t happen,” says Debbie Ratcliffe with the Texas Education Agency.

Ratcliffe believes there are several reasons behind that. One is that schools here have enrolled immigrant students for years.

“I think our districts just simply know how to handle this. It happens regularly. They know to enroll the students. They know what kind of records to ask for. So I think they just kind of handled it,” she says.

She says schools are not allowed to ask about a student’s legal status. If a child lives in a district, they are entitled to a seat at the public school.


Tweet from the Pew Research Center