COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - New information on a bill in congress to allow illegal immigrant children a faster path to citizenship through school.
The actual number of illegal immigrant students is hard to pin point because the school district doesn't ask for status. However, we've worked to get an estimate that will show you how much the Dream Act will cost and save you as a taxpayer.
The Dream Act is a bill that would allow children brought over as illegal immigrants citizenship if they graduate from a high school in the United States, live here five years, and attend college or join the military.
WINK News talked to a local immigration lawyer who estimates there are 3,800 illegal students currently enrolled in Collier. If passed, the Dream Act would require high school grads to attend college to get citizenship.
According to the National Immigration Law Center, women who graduate college on average pay $5,300 more in taxes, and save about $3,900 in criminal justice and welfare expenses. That's an extra $9,200; multiplied by the estimated number of illegal female students equals nearly $17 million in savings annually.
As the same time, students who gain citizenship would also qualify for unemployment because they've paid into it. With the high unemployment rate, that could be more than 400 people collecting an average of $220 a week. That's costing you $2.5 million every six months.
These totals are only estimates since the actual number of illegal immigrants enrolled in Collier's school district is not known. Numbers are based on information from the National Immigration Law Center and the Florida Department for Workplace Innovation.