Teachers are planning to provide in-person educational services to illegal immigrant children being held at the San Diego Convention Center this week, leading to outrage among the city’s parents whose own children remain at home attending public school through virtual sessions.
KPBS-TV reported Monday that educators from the San Diego County Office of Education and other nonprofit organizations will begin teaching some of the 500 illegal immigrant minors who arrived in the southern California city over the weekend.
Around 13 teachers volunteered to provide the illegal immigrant girls with English and art lessons.
“We definitely want to introduce them to the arts, the visual arts and the performing arts,” said Roberto Carrillo, a principal at the County Office of Education. “We’ll give them the opportunity to start expressing themselves through written formats, giving them a basic understanding of the English language.”
Children aged 13 to 17 were transported from Texas and Arizona to the convention center, which is being used as an overflow facility. Around 350 teenage girls arrived on a charter flight Saturday from a Donna, Texas, Border Patrol facility, and another 150 girls were expected to arrive from Tucson, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
The plans to provide in-person lessons to the illegal immigrant children infuriated local parents whose children are still being forced to learn through virtual classrooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emily Diaz, a local parent, told Fox News in an email, “The system is broken when San Diego teachers are teaching migrant children in person, but the 100k students of taxpaying families at San Diego Unified School District are stuck learning in Zoom school.”
“We agree that every child deserves an in-person education, but why are taxpaying students put last?” she continued. “If this is a humanitarian issue then who is rescuing San Diego Unified students, because our leaders have failed them.”
Over 16,500 unaccompanied illegal immigrant children were in federal custody as of Wednesday, according to CBS News. Authorities encountered more than 100,000 illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in February, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said illegal immigration is on track to reach the highest rate in 20 years.
“We have 130,000 kids who haven’t been allowed in a classroom for over a year in the San Diego United School District,” San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond told Fox News. “It’s great that there’s in-person learning for those unaccompanied minors from Central America, but I wish every child in San Diego Country was allowed the same opportunity for in-person teaching.”
The San Diego overflow facility is being operated by the Department of Health and Human Services will reach maximum capacity by the end of the week, housing roughly 1,450 illegal immigrant teens.