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This figure matches data shared in January by Miami-Dade’s superintendent.
The number of newly enrolled students from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela for the 2022-23 school year is close to 14,000, nearly double last school year’s number.
In total, about 20,000 new immigrant students have enrolled in Miami-Dade this school year — accounting for close to 70% of all of the county’s new enrollees.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is eyeing a 2024 presidential run. In an interview on CBS’ "Face the Nation," the Republican talked at length about Florida’s newest immigration policies and how immigration is affecting his city.
Suarez cast doubt on the effect Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new policies will have in places like Miami. But the uptick in immigration across the country is directly affecting Miami-Dade County Public Schools, he said during the May 21 show.
"Just last year in our public school system, we had over 14,000 new children, 10,000 of which came from four countries of Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti," Suarez said May 21.
Suarez didn’t clarify what he meant by "last year," or whether he was referring to the total number of new students in the county, or only the number of new foreign students.
However, PolitiFact took a look at Miami-Dade County Public Schools data and found Suarez is right that there has been an increase in the number of new students from those four countries who have enrolled in the school district.
The number of new students from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela in Miami-Dade Public Schools who have enrolled in the 2022-23 school year is nearly double that of 2021-22, according to data the school district sent to PolitiFact.
Miami-Dade Public Schools records data by its fiscal year, starting in July and ending in June.
Suarez's team did not clarify what year he was referring to when he said "just last year" on CBS, but it pointed PolitiFact to a Miami Herald article from January that relied on 2022-23 school year data discussed during a Jan. 18 school board meeting.
Miami-Dade Superintendent Jose L. Dotres at the time shared numbers showing that nearly 10,000 new students from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela had enrolled in the county since July 2022. As of May 9, that number is closer to 14,000. Last school year, the total was nearly 7,500.
During his interview, Suarez didn’t clarify whether he was referring to all newly enrolled students in Miami-Dade or only newly enrolled immigrant students. Miami-Dade Public Schools defines immigrant students as students who weren’t born in the U.S. and have not attended a U.S. school for more than three school years.
Out of about 30,000 total new students in 2022-23, 20,000 of them were newly enrolled immigrant students.
In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state cannot deny access to public education to any children, regardless of their immigration status. And children who are in the U.S. illegally are still required to go to school until they reach a certain age determined by each state.
In a CBS interview, Suarez said, "Just last year in our public school system, we had over 14,000 new children, 10,000 of which came from four countries of Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti."
Those numbers appeared to have come from 2022-23 data shared in January by the district’s superintendent.
And the figures have since grown. Updated numbers for the 2022-23 school year through May 9 show the number of immigrant students from those four countries is now closer to 14,000. And out of all 30,000 newly enrolled students, 20,000 are immigrant students.
We rate this claim True.
CBS News, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says some of Florida's new immigration laws are "headline grabbing", May 20, 2023
Miami Herald, Immigration spike has created an unexpected wave of enrollment at Miami-Dade schools, Jan. 17, 2023
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, M-DCPS School Board Meeting, January 18, 2023
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Immigrant students and their academic and demographic characteristics: 2017-2018, Sept. 2018
Email exchange, Soledad Cedro, communications director for Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, May 22, 2023
Email exchange, Miami-Dade Public Schools, May 22, 2023
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