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Mecklenburg Co. commissioners push to document immigration status of CMS students

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TWC News: Mecklenburg Co. commissioners push to document immigration status of CMS students
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CHARLOTTE — A few Mecklenburg County commissioners want to know exactly how many illegal immigrants are in the school system and how much they are costing taxpayers.

Tuesday night, they will present the idea to the rest of the commission in hopes that CMS will start documenting the immigration status of each student. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James said it does not hurt to ask the question. James said he, along with Jim Pendergraph and Karen Bentley, want to know how many illegal immigrants are in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

"We have to have discussions about this because it is costing Mecklenburg County taxpayers a fortune,” said Commissioner James.

The commissioners will present the idea to the rest of the board, requesting that CMS document each student's immigration status at the beginning of the school year and then attempt to come up with a price tag.

"I say, you quantify. Let's figure out where the illegals are. Let's figure out what countries they come from. Then we'll multiply how much it's costing us to educate the youth of Mexico or Venezuela or Argentina," said James.

However James said the process should not stop there. He said the commission should then produce a bill and send it to the foreign countries and a copy to the White House.

"Whether they pay it or not is not the point. We send it to Congress, we send it to White House, we send it to those countries, they'll get the point," said James.

Commissioner James said Mecklenburg County taxpayers have a right to know. News 14 Carolina reached out to CMS Monday afternoon for an interview and were told they are currently drafting a statement.
 
But for James, the issue is something the Board needs to discuss.

"This is something we need to have a debate about. We need to know what these countries are costing us," said James.

The board of commissioners will discuss the topic in Tuesday night's meeting. The meeting is at 5:00 p.m. at the Government Center in Uptown.

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