Photo Credit: State Representative Bruce Griffey / Facebook
The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –
Tennessee state Rep. Bruce Griffey has filed a bill that would allow public schools to deny enrollment and the state to not fund education for students who are deemed to be in the country illegally.
House Bill 1648 says that a local school district or public charter school may “enroll, or refuse to enroll, a student who is unlawfully present in the United States.”
Griffey said on Facebook his bill “focuses on the costly expense of providing free, taxpayer-subsidized public education to illegals in [Tennessee] and calls for defunding it.”
The bill would allow the state to withhold funding for students who are deemed to be in the country illegally and school districts choose to enroll. The funding for those students would be the sole responsibility of the district, and the state would be held harmless against action regarding that funding.
Districts also would not be allowed to count students deemed to be in the country illegally toward any Basic Education Program state funding calculations.
The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), in response to the bill, said “it’s in the best interest of the communities and our state for all children, regardless of how they came here or where they are from, to have access to education. Time and again, immigrants, refugees, and our allies have stood to stop each one of Rep. Griffey’s anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills, and this will be no different.”
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Griffey, however, highlighted the $4.8 billion spent annually by the state on public education funding.
“According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, in 2017, $383 million of [Tennessee’s] education budget went to funding education for illegals,” Griffey said in his social media post. “As illegals continue to flood across our border in record numbers under the failed policies of the Biden Administration, it is inevitable that this figure is significantly higher in 2021 than it was in 2017.
“Tennesseans should not have to be paying hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses resulting from criminal acts to which the federal government is turning a blind eye.”
About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.