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Huppenthal Sending Undocumented Student Bill To Feds, But Critics Cry Election Stunt

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal has announced plans to send a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the impacts of illegal immigration to the state education budget.

Huppenthal said the letter was drafted after analyzing the impacts of the state’s known 202 unaccompanied minors who arrived in the country recently without documentation.

He called a news conference to announce the results and discuss a letter he plans to send to the Obama administration requesting reimbursement for the nearly $1 million he says it will cost the state to educate these children.

Huppenthal added he’s also using the letter to express concern over a potential executive action granting amnesty to these and other immigrant children.

"We need to make sure that the Obama administration has thought this through. That they aren’t about to make some huge misstep with what they’re going to propose and they don’t just drop this on us," he said.

Immigration rights advocates and other state politicians say the announcement was nothing more than political pandering as the primary election approaches next week.

"He’s trying to get the extremist vote just before the primaries. I think what he really should be concerned about is educating all the kids regardless of who they are, where they come from and what their background is," said Lydia Guzman of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Huppenthal said the timing of the announcement was the result of several media requests for this type of analysis.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.