Grassroots Effort Underway to Deny Undocumented Students Free Public Education | NBC Southern California

Grassroots Effort Underway to Deny Undocumented Students Free Public Education

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    A San Bernardino man filed a petition to deny undocumented students access to free public education. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

    (Published Wednesday, April 5, 2017)

    A man behind a grass roots proposal to deny undocumented students the right to a free public education filed a petition in San Bernardino County, hoping to get it approved.

    American Children First founder Joseph Turner says he filed a petition with the San Bernardino County Registrar of voters. He said he chose Yucaipa because he says most of the people who live there are Donald Trump supporters. He believes they would also support his measure.

    "We spend billions of dollars a year roughly $15 billion educating the children of illegal aliens in our schools in California and that's money that's being stolen from American children that should be getting the best education possible," he said.

    He's proposing a ballot measure that would ban undocumented students from the Yucaipa Calimesa Joint Unified School District and force undocumented parents of students who are United States citizens to pay tuition.

    Turner, who grew up in San Bernardino County, says he is starting a grass roots campaign to overturn Plyler vs. Doe, a 35-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which allows access to a free education for undocumented children.

    He's hoping others across the nation follow his lead. But a UC Riverside political science professor said that its highly unlikely the proposed measure would spark a national movement that would lead to the overturning of the case.

    Sandy Cox, a Yucaipa resident, said she didn't know how she would vote.

    "I think it's sad that it's come to this," Cox said.

    Ryandra Koshrio, a Beaumont resident, said he thinks that it isn't fair.

    "All kids deserve an education, Koshrio said.

    The school superintendent released a statement saying that the district was not involved in the crafting of this proposal and that the district will continue to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, which "does not allow the district to ask about the immigration status of parents and requires our district to educate all children."

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