Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A call for help for immigrant children

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM

kids.JPG

The Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families released a report today on improving the lives of children of immigrants in Arkansas.

Makes sense. Their numbers are growing fast (since 1990, about 30 times the rate of children of native-born parents); they are 88 percent U.S. citizens; most live in poverty; they are more likely to be without health coverage or pre-K education. What to do?

AACF calls on the state to do more to reach out to immigrant families whose children may be eligible for quality early childhood programs such as ABC pre-K; to extend ARKids First health insurance eligibility to all lawfully residing children; and to pass a state-level DREAM Act that would allow certain undocumented Arkansas high school graduates to attend college at in-state tuition rates.

“We are not asking for Arkansas to do anything for children of immigrants that we don’t already do for children of native-born citizens,” said Laura Kellams, AACF’s Northwest Arkansas director and the author of the report.

Good topic. And it can't help but remind me of an earlier thread today. What would Republican Rep. Justin Harris of West Fork do? The lawmaker complains about the large number of children, immigrants or otherwise, enrolled in ARKids. But he LOVES kids who enroll in his pre-school, funded by tax dollars, where he gets money from taxpayers and inculcates children with his brand of conservative Christian religion. He's acknowledged previously that his students might well include children of "illegals," maybe even children who themselves are "illegals." Federal law helpfully prevents his having to factor that into admissions to his money-making enterprise.

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