Activist pushes law to keep undocumented immigrants out of Yucaipa-Calimesa schools

- A Southern California man believes undocumented immigrants do not belong in the public school system, and he's pushing a law that would keep them officially out.

Joseph Turner has a simple motto, "American Children First." It's the name of his non-profit organization and the idea behind the ballot intiative he filed this week to keep undocumented immigrants from attending K-12 public schools.

"If you can't put America in first place, you're going to put American Children second."

Turner, who is a LA resident, filed his petition with the San Bernardino County Registrar of voters. He is trying to push the initiative for the Yuciapa-Calimesa Joint School Unified School. Turner says he chose this area because of the conservative make up of the region. He needs just 3,200 signatures.

In addition to keeping undocumented children from attending public school, he also wants those students who are citizens but their parents came here illegally to be charged tuition.

"If you're going to give illegal aliens more than you are going to give our children less. If you really want what's best for American children then you should be standing up defending them," Turner said.

His initative states tuituion rates would be "equal to a minimum of the total budget for the district divided by the total enrollment figures at the conclusion of the proceding school year."

"Their parents would have to enroll with a non-resident tuition fee similar to how we do with our college system with how we do out of state tutution to students who are not living in the state."

Parents we spoke with didn't agree Turner's initiative.

"I didn't pay tuition to go to public school. My kids to pay. Why should they pay tutution to go to public school why because their parents might have come here undocumented?" said Mike McEwen.

"Of course it should be for free. If it's free for anyone else so why wouldn't it be free for them?" questioned Lexi Hoppel.

"I think it's not fair for the kids that's the most important thing," said Richard Rodriguez

A 1982 Supreme Court Decision, Plyler vs. Doe, prohibits schools from denying students free public education because of their immigration status.

In a statement the Yucaipa-Calimesa School district says: "The author of this proposed initiative has had no contact with the Board of Education nor district administration. The Board and the district have nor been involved in any way with the crafting of this proposal."

It goes on to say, "The Yuicaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District will continue to comply with state and federal law, which includes the 1982 Supreme Court Decision, Plyler v. Doe. This court decision 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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