Immigrant/ Refugee Students
Over the last few months, we have all been horrified at the inhumane family separation policy undertaken by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Heartbreaking stories of children being ripped from their parents’ arms, audio of children crying hysterically and photos of prison-style camps have inundated the media.
California Together wholeheartedly condemns the federal administration’s decision to separate families and their continued decisions and rhetoric designed to dehumanize immigrants and refugees.
Many of you have answered the call to volunteer your time or make donations or to take to the streets to demand that this nonstop attack on our country’s core value, that we are now and have always been a nation of immigrants, stop. Yet the attacks continue weekly and almost daily as the federal administration continues to change policies and procedures to make life as difficult as possible for all immigrants, authorized or not.
As the new school year approaches, we worry about heightened fear, trauma and anxiety that students in our schools will face. Immigrant parents and students see the same media stories that we do – and we can’t ignore the fact that this climate of hostility has a direct impact on the social-emotional well-being of our students and their ability to learn. We believe that we have to bring the conversation into the classroom, and that’s why we have developed age-appropriate, standards-based lesson plans to help build empathy and community-building within the classroom as well as have literature-based discussions about detention, deportation and separation.
In partnership with county offices of education around the state, we will be holding “Trainer of Trainer” workshops that cover our “Support for Immigrant and Refugee Students” lesson plans, socio-emotional guide, and guide to creating safe and welcoming schools.
We hope to see you soon at one of our upcoming workshops.
In the last few weeks, several reports were released, documenting the negative impact that the current immigration enforcement policies are having on immigrant children:
The UCLA Civil Rights Project has released a report, entitled U.S. Immigration Enforcement Policy and its Impact on Teaching and Learning in the Nation’s Schools. The researchers, led by Dr. Patricia Gandara, surveyed thousands of educators across the U.S. and found that the teachers and administrators have noticed the impact, including increased absenteeism, behavior or emotional problems, and academic decline. The Civil Rights Project and the Migration Policy Institute co-hosted a convening and webcast at the Wilson Center to release the report as well as a companion paper about the impact on educators, Stressed, Overworked, and Not Sure Whom to Trust: The Impacts of Recent Immigration Enforcement on our Public School Educators.
Less than a week later, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) released a pair of reports highlighting the impact of current immigration policy on young children and early childhood education providers. Our Children’s Fear: Immigration Policy’s Effects on Young Children surveyed educators in six states and also documents the negative impact that immigration policies are having on young immigrant children and their parents. The key findings include:
- Young children fear their parents will be taken away
- Young children’s daily routines are interrupted because fear is keeping families isolated in
their homes—resulting in reduced access to early care and education programs
Parent and provider accounts suggest that young children are getting less access to nutrition and health care services because of families’ fears
- Young children’s housing and economic stability are in turmoil, with likely significant consequences for their well-being
- Parents and caregivers—the most important source of support for young children—are themselves under severe stress and lack resources to meet their needs
The report finishes with Federal, state, and local policy recommendations as well as recommendations for the philanthropic community.
The companion report from CLASP, Immigration Policy’s Harmful Impacts on Early Care and Education, finds that:
- Early care and education programs have experienced drops in enrollment, attendance, and parent participation
- Early care and education programs face increased difficulty connecting immigrant families to health, nutrition, and social services
Many early care and education programs feel unprepared to meet families’ needs
Immigration policy changes directly affect the early care and education workforce
Early care and education programs’ responses to the current environment differ—with some taking on new roles and approaches
The four reports all highlight what educators across the country can tell you – immigration policies are deeply impacting the students, their families, and the educational staff they interact with on a daily basis.
Californians Together is pleased to announce the relaunch of the Informed Immigrant website. We have partnered with Informed Immigrant to create an “Educator’s Corner” to curate and share resources for educators including:
- Classroom tools
- Policies and protocol
- Advice for schools to share immigration-related resources with families
- College access and scholarships
- Nationwide directory of legal aid
Californians Together will be partnering on-going to ensure that new resources are added and highlighted on the InformedImmigrant.com website