A housing development outside Cleveland, Texas, just north of Houston, is populated primarily by illegal aliens and putting strain on the local school district.

“Colony Ridge Communities” is a land development project that markets land to illegal aliens through loan loopholes and is one of the largest settlements of illegal aliens in the country.

In the 2019-2020 school year, Cleveland Independent School District only had 6,584 students. As the current school year begins, the number of students has nearly doubled to more than 12,400.

At the district’s back-to-school convocation, Superintendent Stephen McCanless said the district has enrolled 1,092 new students in the past weeks and more students are expected to be registered in the next few weeks.

The district has hired 1,498 staff members since the 2021-2022 school year, and due to the limited capacity of the Cleveland High School gym, the district almost did not hold the back-to-school convocation. To accommodate these students, the district built six new schools.

The Colony Ridge settlements are believed to have a population of 22,000, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

Colony Ridge is partially funded by William Harris, a major donor of Gov. Greg Abbott, who gives yearly contributions of $300,000 to Abbott’s campaign.

Chris Russo, president of Texans For Strong Borders, told Texas Scorecard, “Just ten years ago, Cleveland ISD had a total enrollment of 3,818. This more than tripling of the student population is driven by the high number of illegal aliens flocking to Colony Ridge. And this doesn’t even tell the whole story. In addition to Cleveland ISD, there is a K-12 charter school system serving over 2,600 students (whose website is in Spanish) in the middle of the development that boasts of teaching students in English, Spanish, and Mandarin-Chinese.”

With Colony Ridge’s planned expansion, these numbers will likely increase even more over the next 10 years.

Russo is calling for the state to challenge court precedent in Plyer v. Doe, which forces taxpayers to foot the bill for illegal alien students, and to repeal in-state college tuition for illegal aliens.

TFSB is also calling for Abbott to include a call to end in-state tuition for illegal aliens and end funding for illegal alien children in Texas public schools in a special session of the 88th Legislature.

Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes is a fellow at Texas Scorecard and student at Concordia University of Texas, where he is in the Pre-Seminary program. He is passionate about theology and gun rights topics.