Florida Schools Get Ready for Flood of Border Kids

By: Marianela Toledo FloridaWatchdog.org | Posted: July 26, 2014 3:55 AM
Border kids

With more than 51,000 unaccompanied Central American children already here, and more expected to come, school officials are asking the federal government for a helping hand.

Border kids cost more to educate, about $1,900 per head. Teachers must be bilingual. The students will need health care and psychological services because many arrive sick and traumatized by things they've seen and experienced on their journeys north.

Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, communications officer at the Miami-Dade County Public School, said up until now, the school district has relied on its emergency funds to help cover the costs.

“We are asking the federal government to help us with this additional cost,” she said. “We are here to help those children, we have a history of helping them, as we did when the earthquake hit Haiti, and when political problems arose in Cuba.

“We won’t stop providing them an education,” she said. “But we don’t want the (local) taxpayer to pay for it. That’s why we are asking for federal funds.”

She said that just before the end of school in June, her district saw about 300 border kids, coming from Honduras.

“We don’t know how many more are coming this upcoming school year because Central America children usually enroll just two or three weeks before the school year begins,” Gonzalez-Diego said.

While the Palm Beach County School District says they haven’t seen an uptick of border kids enrolling, they won’t be caught off guard for the 2014-15 school year, which begins in August.

“We are accustomed to receiving an influx of children based on different situations that happen around the world,” said Natalia Powers, communications manager for the Palm Beach County School District.

The 2010 Haiti earthquake caused an influx of Haitian students in their district.

“Our district and schools were ready to provide them with services, and what we cannot provide we work out with community partnerships,” she said.

Powers said Palm Beach County schools are not asking for additional funds right now, but they won’t know what to expect until they get closer to the beginning of the school year.

The Guatemalan Mayan Center, a Lake Worth, Fla.-based community organization that offers assistance and language classes to immigrants, has seen an uptick in the number of immigrants seeking help.

“Last year, we had three students. This year, we’ve got 50,” said volunteer Micaela Martí.

She said the children are 5 and 7 who come to the center to learn English because they arrived too late for the school year.

School officials in Hillsborough County, which has a large Hispanic population, did not respond to a request for information.

In Pasco County, shelters expect to double their capacity.

Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA reported the Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services is asking Pasco County’s Planning Commission to double shelter capacity to 32 beds to accommodate more border children. But neighbors of the center have mixed reactions.

Florida Watchdog contacted Americans for Immigrant Justice, a facility that houses border-crossing children, but they declined a request for an interview or to provide any information about the children.

In Brevard County, the Children’s Home Society of Florida confirmed to Breitbart News that some unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border of the U.S. will be sent to local foster homes in the state next month.

Marianela Toledo is the journalistic force behind Watchdog.org’s Spanish-language reporting. Since 2012 she has investigated fraud, waste and abuse at the state and local level of Florida government. marianela.toledo@floridawatchdog.org

Tags: News, Politics

Comments (8)

Terrance Shoemaker
11:08AM JUL 29TH 2014
County Commissioners. Sign Proclamations now. You don't want undocumented boarder crossers housed in your county.
H.E. "Pete" Ashley
11:00AM JUL 27TH 2014
We no longer have a border and our citizenship is in question. I said that "when the rewards to illegal aliens trump the penalty for their illegal presence they will come." And they have.
10:22AM JUL 26TH 2014
The more I think about this the more mad comes out of me. Why go to the Feds for the money? It will just get trickled down to U.S. Tax paying higher taxes anyway. Heck no, start now before Novembers Elections tell ing Citizens of Florida that Florida sales tax goes up to 10% in all counties January 1st, 20015 to pay all the expenses these children will cost, all costs. That way we can put the fire on those running for Governor of Florida to see what their plans are for excepting these children and their relatives into Florida. Make this a push button issue. Have these running for Florida offices get the citizens to organize and how they can contact the Obama administration. This is every Floridians problem. So speak up or pay up.
Doubting Thomas
1:43PM JUL 27TH 2014
I like this idea! Let's see who wants to SUPPORT or DEPORT.
9:28AM JUL 26TH 2014
So far it's just 1/2 of Central America children with many parents and relatives. What about South America when those children arrive? When will U.S. Citizens wake up to what's going on around them? Get on you computers, telephone or write your Congress and show your disgust for how these countries are dumping their unwanted citizens on the U.S. when we have our own problems that get swept under the carpet. No, don't let anyone pull the wool over your head with that sympathy for the children routine. These citizens from Central America are using the U.S. citizens to support them, it's the 2nd oldest trick in the book. Look at the children and people around them, do they look like they are starving? Yes hungry, not starving. What about the thousands of dollars they pay the coyote, that's money for food, clothes, shelter in there own countries. Wake up America, it's time to just say no!
Mel Sembler funds most of them
8:49AM JUL 26TH 2014
In the midst of a swirling national debate about undocumented immigrant children crossing illegally into the United States, a federally funded shelter in Pasco County Florida is housing boys from Central and South America and asking the county to double its capacity to accommodate more.

Researchers has learned that some of the undocumented kids who've cross the Mexican border have landed in a federally-funded shelter in Pasco County operated by Gulf Coast Jewish Community Services.

"These children have fled persecution at the most terrible level," said Gulf Coast Chief Operating Officer Anne Marie Winter. "Some of them have been human trafficked into this country for sexual slavery."

The shelter has been quietly operating, under what amounts to a gag order from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, for about two months. REALLY?

Now Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services is asking Pasco County's Planning Commission to double the capacity to 32 beds for undocumented boys ages 8-17 who have crossed the border to reunite with relatives in the U.S. "These children have no criminal backgrounds they are not in the dependency system they have been vetted for all communicable diseases," said Winter." They are the sweetest children like our own." Residents at the Aloha Gardens subdivision across the street from the shelter in Holiday had no idea what of what Gulf Coast calls its "safe house."

The governor's office was apparently caught by surprise too by the federally-funded shelter until contacted by researchers and did not have any immediate response. He had to check with Mel Sembler first!

Gulf Coast executives consider the shelter a humanitarian response and want no part of the national political controversy swirling around the border kids. But that agency is knee deep in it now after applying to double the capacity of its 16 bed shelter.

Wednesday, the Pasco County Planning Commission put off further discussion until August after raising questions about funding for the program.

Until 8 On Your side started pressing questions Thursday, Gulf Coast was under orders from the Office of Refugee Resettlement to not discuss the program and had to receive permission in writing before talking to us about the benefits of sheltering the undocumented boys in Pasco.

The agency asked everyone not to disclose the exact address of the shelter to protect the boys from harm since some of them are victims of international human trafficking. REALLY?

When Governor Rick Scott learned this massive child trafficking operation was funded and supported by none other than his Republican party money man and chief of pedophile operations Scott immediately issued this statement about the new influx of young refugees: "We have a humanitarian crisis with thousands of unaccompanied minors on our southern border and the Obama Administration has demonstrated incompetence in their failure to deal with it. The people of Florida, like all Americans, have compassion for the children involved. It's the adults who are failing. If the Obama Administration did its job and secured our borders we would not be in this mess." So, Obama says it Bush’s fault and Rick Scott says it’s Obama’s fault and the truth is it’s all of their faults; but the pedophiles just want more and more access to the children and with the Repubs it’s the boys they are after!

Mel Sembler and his Bush family friends like Rick Scott have been running pedophile operations from Clearwater, Fl all over this state and nation. Pedophile farms and ranchers like SEED; STRAIGHT, INC.; THE GREEN ISLE BOYS RANCH; COGGINS FARMS in Valdosta, Ga.; and too many more to list!

And once again we see Mel & Brent Sembler behind this secret mission as well. Google “Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services” and you will find the pictures of Mel Sembler, son Brent and wife raising funds for this organization – yet one more deceitful child pedophile operation protected by “the Marxists that are in control of the massive destruction of the former greatest nation ever on earth!

And since Mel Sembler owns Rick Scott, Jeb Bush and family and all the rest of the politicians in the USA nothing will ever been done about this massive organization of child abuser!
9:41AM JUL 26TH 2014
Let's be fair, it's everyone's fault. All Citizens need to band together and say no more. Remember a couple of years ago when Mexico's President came to the U.S. and told the American People that the problem at the Border was because our hunger for drugs and U.S. sending guns to Mexico. Well it worked for that President and now it's working for Central America's presidents because they are using the same excuse. #1, Those illegal Drugs are still illegal in the U.S. under federal law. # 2 If Mexico didn't have a hunger for U.S. firearms then there wouldn't be a problem. It's excuses and we let them get away with excuses. The dog ate my homework doesn't work anymore. These other countries need to take care of there own citizens. Tell your Congress, petition the President. Maybe if President Obama got 100 million petitions from U.S. Citizens he would get the message, then again that's a maybe, even still time to stand up for what is right and stop this invasion, stop wasting our tax dollars when our infrastructure is crumbling.
Bob Webster
8:01AM JUL 26TH 2014
Exactly HOW did those 51,000 kids get here? By row boat? Did they walk from the Texas/New Mexico/Arizona border with Mexico?

Or were they scattered around by a corrupt Obama administration that has organized and facilitated this invasion?

And for those who feel sorry for those kids, what about the American kids whose parents now have to pay for this latest Obama travesty?

And if you think we should be compassionate and take all these kids in, suppose China decides to send massive numbers of their children to the US to dump them in to our welfare system? How would you like 5,000,000 Chinese children coming to the US via Mexico?

Wake up, America. The Marxists are in control and you've let it happen by believing their bilge about the opposition being racist, homophobic, and misogynist. It's all rubbish pitched to those who want to blame others for their own lack of achievement.

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