DMN’s God-Awful Guessing on New American Kids

My friend Vince Leibowitz at Capitol Annex does a great job of pointing out the biases put out by the mainstream media regarding the number of immigrant children in our public schools, in this case, the Dallas Morning News. What Vince (and many of us in the cause) call “flawed,” the mainstream media is attempting to portray as fact.

While the Morning News admits this number is toward the top end of the spectrum, it is nonetheless what every other news organization, including UPI, is taking away from the story.

The problem? The numbers and the costs the Morning News touts at the outset of its article seem nowhere near accurate.

Of course, this article is about Texas bigot Leo Berman’s Texas House bill which would require immigrant children to be counted for his own racist purposes, or in this case, putting an actual price tag on the heads of these children. DMN provides a bit of analysis on Plyer v. Texas, which decided that these kids are entitled to a public education, but that’s not enough for Berman (or the Dallas Morning News).

As Vince mentions, the State Comptroller’s office under Carol Strayhorn reported some obvious facts. What’s disturbing in the DMNs analysis is the fact the the “high-end” numbers are those of a “think tank” tied to white supremacists, FAIR, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The lowest estimate, by the comptroller’s office, was 125,000 students for the 2000-01 school year. The highest was 225,000 for 2003-04, by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-illegal-immigrant group that has issued several reports about the strain that it says immigrants place on the public education system.

Who is going to have the best numbers? The state of Texas, or some out-of-state group known for inflating and distorting (and some same making up as they go) stats regarding Latinos and immigrants.

Vince provides us with some good analysis.

However, the number of undocumented students the Morning News uses as its “high end estimate” seems to be ridiculous and have been concocted using a method that evidently no other group studying the problem has used–whether or not a child enrolled in school has a social security number.

The dead giveaway should be that the Texas Comptroller’s Office did not use this to come up with their population estimates in 2006.

The Comptroller’s Office–while notoriously hellishly political with revenue estimates–isn’t typically as political with reports like this, and that office based its population estimate off of a Pew Hispanic Center study done a year or so prior to the release of the 2006 report. Pew derives its numbers from U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Labor statistics.

The Dallas Morning News does a disservice to the people of Texas by giving groups like FAIR any mention, given their notoriety and obvious bias against Latinos and immigrants.

What the DMN seems to forget is that we are talking about children who have either grown up in the US and Texas or have arrived here for a better chance at a life, and who under our state constitution have a right to a free, public education.

Although Leo Berman gets some sort of excitement from attacking children, our political leaders (and our mainstream media) must say that the needs of the children come first, and that race-targeting bills will not be tolerated.

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