The federal government has neglected its duty to help local institutions solve the problems that arise from illegal immigration.
That’s what a group of Frankfort and Clinton County leaders told U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, R-4th District, on Monday. In a closed-door meeting, Buyer met with officials to learn about the pressures noncitizens put on schools, governments, jails and other institutions.
Frankfort Mayor Don Stock said many residents think the city should do more to prevent illegal immigrants from coming there. But he and other officials lack the authority to do much in that direction, he said, and the issue is best dealt with by the federal government.
Stock said many illegal immigrants came to Frankfort to find honest work. But others have joined gangs and have contributed to the drug traffic in town.
Frankfort has been forced to spend more money on law enforcement, he said. Meanwhile, the federal government hasn’t recognized the city’s troubles.
Frankfort Community School Corp. superintendent Kevin Caress said the system annually spends a large amount of money teaching the children of immigrants to speak English. The federal government has placed two local schools—Kyger and Suncrest—on probation because they failed to meet the standards of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Caress noted that Latinos comprise 90 percent of the students at Kyger, and their numbers are large at Suncrest as well. He said No Child Left Behind expects Spanish speakers to become proficient in English quickly and punishes schools that fail to meet those strict standards.