John Darkow cartoon

(John Darkow cartoon /

Under the guise of “This is not who we are. America is better than this,” familiar elitist-speak currently spoken to excuse admitting thousands of Northern Triangle migrants, no accommodation is too generous for them.

President Joe Biden is the latest political potentate to unconvincingly utter the America-is-better-than-this refrain.

But Biden has a long way to go before he matches President Barack Obama in his thinly disguised admonition of average Americans. Obama uttered the backhanded insult 46 times on issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act, voting and national security to immigration.

To gauge how much taxpayers are required to tolerate while underwriting an endless stream of affirmative benefits offered to recently arrived migrant noncitizens as they’re forced to play second fiddle, turn to San Diego.

For more than a year, some 130,000 children enrolled in the San Diego Unified School District have been relegated to remote, online education. School administrators blame the COVID-19 pandemic, and have insisted that for the teachers’ personal safety, and in the best interests of their students, remote learning is mandatory.

Imagine, then, the shock parents must have experienced when they learned that SDUSD teachers would be instructing young migrants in person at the San Diego Convention Center, where they’re currently housed. In other words, teaching in person is OK, but only if the students are foreign nationals and not San Diego’s kids.

During his interview with the national news media, Reopen California Schools founder Jonathan Zachreson said that the confirmed COVID-19 infection rate among the alien children the SDUSD teachers will be instructing is 9 percent. But among the San Diego students the teachers have betrayed, the infection rate is a microscopic .0018 percent.

In its own statement, the San Diego County Office of Education said, “We also have a moral obligation to ensure a bright future for our children,” an apparent reference to the migrants.

The SDCOE didn’t mention concern for the San Diego students whose futures have been harmed, perhaps irreparably, by the county’s year-long stay-at-home order.

On April 12, San Diego schools will — tentatively — shift to hybrid learning while the in-person migrant program will remain active through July. Shortly after SDUSD officials confirmed the April 12 return date, teachers immediately pushed back.

An internal union email obtained by the Voice of San Diego showed the teachers are hedging on the April 12 date, and suggested that classroom conditions are not yet safe for returning. The email read, in part, “Any date for a required return is a projection and not set in stone.”

To restate the obvious: the teachers and their union throw up flimsy objections to educating San Diego’s citizen children, but don’t hesitate to sign up to instruct Mexican and Central American migrants.

The SDCOE stressed that its illegal immigrant education program will emphasize English as a Second Language and social-emotional learning opportunities, a direct slap in the face to San Diego’s enrolled thousands of limited English speakers and special needs students.

Statewide, California’s quality of education has been in freefall for decades.

Within living memory, the 1960s, California had the nation’s most efficient and most admired K-12 public school system. But in 1978, Proposition 13 cut property taxes and, as a result, slashed counties’ available funds for school construction and upkeep.

Today, California has more than 6.1 million students enrolled in nearly 11,000 campuses. For more than a year, the majority have been denied an in-person public education, a lost school year that can never be recovered.

But for frustrated, furious parents to realize that SDUSD teachers’ priority is educating unaccompanied, illegally present foreign national asylum seekers while their children’s academic needs are neglected is a burdensome reality to cope with.

Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican representing an eastern San Diego County district, sided with the parents. In a news release, he said “the decision to provide in-person instruction to illegal migrants is outrageous and parents have every right to be angry.”

Summarizing, SDUSD teachers refused to return to their contracted jobs until, first, they were vaccinated; second, they received more money, and third, coronavirus cases fell. The teachers have been vaccinated; they and their California’s K-12 peers got $15.3 billion as their part of the American Rescue Plan Act, and cases have plunged.

Yet, the teachers brazenly refuse to go back to their San Diego classrooms, but willingly will provide education to illegally present minors. Such is the state of things in California, and in today’s Washington, D.C., where the illegal immigrant is preferred to the citizen.

— Joe Guzzardi is an analyst and researcher with Progressives for Immigration Reform who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at, or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated columnist writing about immigration and related social issues. A California native who now lives in Pittsburgh, he’s a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who can be reached at The opinions expressed are his own.