Representation Image Students in class vidyarthidarpan/ Pixabay

School districts across the U.S. are scrambling to adapt to the ever-increasing amount of migrant children enrolling in its systems, as the need for bilingual teachers and additional classroom space soars.

An Axios report published on Monday gathered information from different cities across the country to show the extent of the matter: Chicago, New York, Denver, Boston and Washington D.C. have all seen clear bumps in enrollment as the number of migrant families crossing the border illegally continue to break records.

Authorities have changed tack on a series of issues as a result of the surge. Among them are: adjusting bus routes to and from temporary housing sites in New York, going back to hiring bilingual teachers and English as a second language teachers, hiring school workers dedicated to migrants with major education gaps and mental health support professionals.

The additional needs also come at a time when budgets are already strained. The Axios report cites educators resorting to their own money to help migrant students with housing and clothing needs, as many families struggle with basic needs once they arrive in the country.

Over 3.2 million migrants arrived in the United States in fiscal year 2023. The figure includes people with a legal status and those apprehended for illegally crossing the border, according to Customs and Border Protection data. According to Homeland Security data, last month alone 124,000 family members crossed the borders without visa, whether illegally or by showing up at ports of entry.

Venezuelans were the nationality most often apprehended for illegally crossing the U.S. border, surpassing Mexicans for the first time since records have been kept.

Cities are taking different approaches to dealing with the inflow of migrants, with some of them saying they cannot receive more.

Perhaps the most illustrative example is New York City, whose Mayor, Eric Adams, has said for months now that the city is "at capacity" and whose administration is implementing different tactics to house those who continue to arrive and try to get as many as possible to leave.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams
Eric Adams AFP

The latest initiative is booking migrants a one-way plane tickets to a destination of their choice. According to Politico, the Eric Adams administration believes this alternative is cheaper than housing migrants for an indeterminate amount of time, and many have been taken from shelters to an office solely dedicated to this purpose.

Adams also said this week that handing out tents to migrants for them to sleep in public parks is "under consideration" as the continuous influx of people might lead the city to impose "draconian" measures.

"If the flow continues at 3-4k a week, we are going to have to use draconian measures. Our goal is to find ways not to get to that point, but I would be dishonest if I said it is not on the table. We are out of room, and the cost is beyond sustainable," he added.

Over 130,000 migrants have arrived in the city during the past year and a half. According to Bloomberg, the city currently houses migrants in a mix of roughly 200 shelters, hotels and office buildings, as well as large-scale tent facilities.

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