by: Scott Wickersham Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There are new plans to create a shelter for undocumented children in Charlotte.
The Latin American Coalition said 1,200 children have already come to North Carolina to stay with family.
The shelter would be for children who are still stuck at the border with no family to take them in.
The question is where the shelter will be located and what impact it will that have on the school system.
Jess George with the Latin American Coalition was at a meeting Thursday night where local leaders discussed ways to help.
“They are in detention centers. They are children in jail,” George said.
One option is to open a shelter in Charlotte -- a type of day care center for up to 400 children.
George said they wouldn't stay at the center overnight and that's something they still have to figure out.
The Rev. John Cleghorn with Caldwell Presbyterian Church offered his facility as an option.
“They deserve compassion and care while the courts figure out what their status is,” Cleghorn said.
The immigration issue is a controversial one as taxpayers spend millions housing the children at the border.
George explained what the cost would be for Charlotte taxpayers.
“Undocumented immigrants don’t qualify for local money,” George said.
But taxpayers would pay for their education.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools is preparing for an influx of undocumented children to enroll in their schools.
Commissioner Pat Cotham has already discussed it with school leaders.
“Some of the kids arrived in the school year that already ended,” Cotham said. “So, some already came. I would just trust the lead of CMS.”
A CMS spokesman said they would handle the undocumented children like any other child new to their district.
If a large number of new students come to a certain school, they will make staffing changes to handle it.
The Latin American Coalition said discussions are preliminary but they will meet again next week to discuss the shelter idea.
Nearly 2,000 migrant children brought to Carolinas
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is calling on the federal government to be more transparent about the migrant children it is sending to the Carolinas.
Tens of thousands of Latin American children have swarmed across the Mexican border into the U.S. and now Charlotte could begin housing them.
There are more than 1,400 children in North Carolina and more than 400 in South Carolina.
WSOC-TV’s Washington Bureau is digging into the cost of educating the immigrant children.
Schools pay on average $11,000 per student each year.
The tens of thousands of immigrant children are guaranteed a public education under federal law.
That will cost schools more than $413 million nationwide this year.
Some say that is not fair to taxpayers.
“You get some federal money for education, but because you pick up, whatever, x number of kids in your school district, the government is not going to give you a check to cover those extra students,” said James Carafano with Heritage Foundation.
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