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IMMIGRATION

This UnidosUS March 2019 report examines the direct and indirect harms to American children at risk of being torn from their parents, the report’s first section examines the scope and composition of the “rest of the iceberg” when it comes to the family separation crisis. The next section takes an in-depth historical look at immigration enforcement practices and their implications for the present day. Then, the report analyzes in detail the harms to U.S.-citizen children in terms of economic prosperity, health and nutrition, educational attainment, and safety. Concluding with a discussion of the implications for the whole of American society.
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In Spring 2020, UnidosUS published a 5-part state-level issue briefs series that builds on the 2018 UnidosUS report, “Beyond the Border: Family Separation in the Trump Era,” by exploring what is at stake in key states if the nation’s immigration policy status quo prevails.  The series, entitled “A Generation at Risk: The Threats to States in the Current Immigration Landscape” examine the composition of American children in mixed status homes in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Illinois – states with the largest Latino populations – to compile available population estimates to sketch a health, education, and economic outlook portrait of American children in immigrant families of Hispanic origin in those states. 
On March 6, 2020, UnidosUS hosted a discussion on Capitol Hill with policy makers, researchers, and education leaders to focus on America’s K-12 students. The event, “Learning in a Climate of Fear: Voices from the Classroom,” grappled with the question: with growing evidence that U.S. immigration policy harms American K-12 students, what are the appropriate responses at the classroom, district, and national levels?
 
The framework for the discussion was set by Migration Policy Institute education expert and UnidosUS alumna, Delia Pompa, who provided an analysis of the latest research on the subject. Senior Immigration Policy Analyst, Emily Ruskin, then provided a snapshot of how these issues are playing out in UnidosUS-affiliated classrooms, as detailed in her new report, A Generation at Risk: The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on UnidosUS-affiliated Classrooms and Educators
 
Key findings include:
  • 92% of UnidosUS-affiliated educators surveyed reported directly observing students express fear of immigration enforcement.
  • 92% of educators surveyed also reported that fear of immigration enforcement has disrupted their classrooms directly and indirectly, in turn impacting all students.
  • More than half of educators surveyed observed increases in immigration related bullying.
  • The report reminds readers that 1 in 4 American K-12 students is Latino. Even though most Latino children are U.S. citizens (95%), current immigration policies create huge barriers to their right to an equitable education.
  • Nearly 6 million U.S. citizen children live with at least one undocumented parent or caregiver; most are Latino.
UnidosUS planted a marker for our community earlier with its June 2018 Op-Ed entitled, “The Shadow War to Reshape the Face of America” in which it called the Administration’s assault on the legal immigration an sustained effort to make the nation whiter and richer by excluding immigrants of color and their families from legally entering the country.  Since then, UnidosUS has mounted campaigns to push back against harmful public charge regulations and others inspired in its image. Janet Murguia has penned Op-Eds in the New York Times and been a contributor on MSNBC on this very subject.
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