Immigrants Live in Fear
October 30, 2018
The harsh immigration enforcement policies of the current administration have spread fear throughout America’s immigrant communities. They know the administration has prioritized detaining and deporting all unauthorized immigrants and the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is uncertain as it is being battled out in courts across the country.
One of the results of the current administration’s immigration policies is the disruption of the learning experiences of millions of children. There are currently an estimated 6 million children who are U.S. citizens but have mixed-status families, and another 600,000 undocumented youth under 18 who attend school in the United States.
When Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducts raids on plants to arrest undocumented workers, the following days see a huge drop in student attendance in area schools. This is because immigrant parents are afraid their children may not return, or that they themselves will be found and arrested.
Schools function as support centers, provide stability, and even a source of meals for many students. But when fear of deportation pervades the school atmosphere, many students stay home – and the ones who do not can suffer performance issues from stress.
Negative Impact on All Students
A study conducted by UCLA found that more than 60 percent of educators surveyed saw the negative effects of immigration enforcement in the academic performance of affected students. In the same study, 84 percent of educators said that students expressed their worries about the effects of immigration enforcement.
It is not only students from immigrant families who are affected. Other students can perceive the stress and anxiety of their peers who worry about immigration enforcement. This leads to the destabilization of the entire classroom. When a student misses school, and the class does not know when or if the student will be returning, the learning process is interrupted for everyone.
For very young students who cannot understand the immigration process or policy enforcement, even if they have legal residency or citizenship, they may still worry about being deported.
Educators Under Stress
Aggressive immigration enforcement policies also affect educators, by making it more difficult to recruit and retain teachers. New research shows that educators who work with immigrant students feel anxious and overworked, regardless of their own status. These teachers end up filling the surrogate roles of social worker and advocate. When they feel helpless to support students traumatized by immigration enforcement, they may experience symptoms of trauma themselves.
Because the DACA program has been cut off, states with large populations of Latinx students find that the Latinx teacher-student gap is growing larger.
The Right of Students to Learn
Immigrant students and their parents should know that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) says that schools are obligated to protect the confidentiality of student records and may not share student information with school resource officers, local police, or federal immigration officers without a warrant. Knowledge of the law can help mitigate the fear of being detained or deported.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Fight for the Rights of Immigrants
If you are concerned about your immigration status, contact the experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Our dedicated attorneys have dealt with a wide range of immigration issues and know the many different government agencies that deal with immigration. For a free and confidential consultation about your case call 215-496-0690 or contact us online. We are conveniently located in Philadelphia serving clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.