On March 16, the reported rape of a 14-year-old Maryland girl by two older, undocumented students during school hours stunned Americans across the country.
While the appalling accusations have turned the nation's eyes toward the city of Rockville, it seems that Maryland is not the only state reeling from the effects of illegal immigration.
On Saturday, Lynn (MA) Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy told Fox News' Judge Jeanine Pirro that her city has also experienced a significant influx of undocumented immigrants, one that is causing a “tremendous strain” on her budget, school system, and community.
Explaining that her community is seeing hundreds of new students who don't “primarily speak English” — and often arrive without criminal histories, birth certificates or “records of any sort” — Kennedy said:
“Many of these children who are coming in stopped their formal education at third grade. But they are growing well into adulthood, and we can’t put them into a third-grade classroom.”
Noting that she simply “can't” bring herself to put such students — some of whom, she says, even have graying hair at their temples — into third-grade classrooms, Kennedy has tried to come up with alternate solutions.
When the mayor tried to create night classes for these groups, however, she says that she was blocked from doing so:
“We were told by a children’s advocacy group that we were not giving equal education to these students, so we had to shut down the night school and put everyone into the regular daytime classes.”
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time Mayor Kennedy has spoken publicly about the difficulties her community has faced:
In July 2014, Kennedy also spoke with Fox News about the strain that the influx of undocumented immigrants had placed on her city.
Referring to the fact that, even then, her community had added “248 children from Guatemala alone in [her] school system on very short notice,” Kennedy said:
"This year, I have had to increase my school department budget 9.3 percent, and have had to cut all of my other city budgets between 2 percent and 5 percent to make up for the influx of the unaccompanied children and the surge.
We have had over 1,000 not-native-born children enter our school system in the last four years."
For the city of Lynn, it appears that, ethical and safety questions aside, the system simply doesn't have the resources to support such a large influx.
What's more, despite the fact that Kennedy and her fellow officials have been struggling with — and publicly voicing concerns about — this issue for years, it seems clear that both the mayor and her community have yet to figure out a solution.
As to how her challenges will evolve under the new White House administration, however, that remains to be seen.