Panel: Impacts of Immigration Enforcement on School Enrollment, Student Achievement, and Absenteeism

Thursday, November 7, 2019: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Governor's Square 16 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Seton Hall University
Panel Chair:  Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Seton Hall University
Discussant:  Carolyn J. Heinrich, Vanderbilt University

Schools are at the forefront of the current national immigration crisis. Approximately 675,000 undocumented children under the age of 18 are living in the U.S. today and another 5 million U.S.-born children live with at least one undocumented parent (Passel & Cohn, 2018). Changing approaches to immigration enforcement under the Trump administration has brought increased interest in understanding the impact of immigration policies and enforcement activities on students in (and outside of) schools. This panel seeks to contribute to the emerging body of literature on the educational effects of immigration enforcement (Amuedo-Dorantes, Arenas-Arroyo & Sevilla, 2018; Amuedo-Dorantes & Lopez, 2015, 2017) by exploring the impacts of immigration enforcement on pre-school enrollment, student achievement, absenteeism, and mobility. Considering the size of the population of students (and parents) affected by the issues related to unauthorized immigration status and enforcement, there is a need for a broader base of empirical evidence about the implications of immigration policies for students, schools and communities.

The four papers on the panel leverage distinct data sources to examine how immigration enforcement affects students’ reading and math scores, absenteeism, mobility, and likelihood to enroll in Head Start programs. Two papers focus specifically on the impacts of the adoption (or non-adoption) of 287(g) agreements, which are structured partnerships between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law-enforcement agencies in which ICE provides local law-enforcement agencies with the training and authority to enforce federal immigration laws. The first paper uses a triple difference strategy to estimate the effects of increased immigration enforcement via 287(g) programs on student attendance in districts in North Carolina from 2003-2004 through 2012-13, comparing the results for Hispanic and non-Hispanic students, all students before and after the activation of 287(g) agreements, and districts whose 287(g) agreements were rejected along with those whose were activated. The second paper exploring 287(g) agreements uses DDD modeling as well to estimate the impact of 287(g) agreements on Hispanic students’ mobility between 2000 and 2011, comparing Hispanic and non-Hispanic students as well as counties that did and did not have their 287(g) applications approved.

The third paper on the panel analyzes the relationship between the number of raids conducted by ICE as reported by local media outlets and the academic achievement, absenteeism rates, and socioemotional outcomes of students in the California CORE districts—eight school districts that educate over one million students in 1,600 schools in areas with some of the largest immigrant-origin student populations in the U.S.. The panel closes with a paper examining the local deterrence effect of immigration raids for Hispanic families on Head Start enrollment. Using a novel dataset consisting of nationwide immigration raids, program-level Head Start enrollment, public school-level enrollment, other locally enforced immigration laws/policies, and county-level demographics over the late 2000s, the paper shows decreases in county-level Hispanic enrollment in Head Start following immigration raids in a county. Together, these papers make important empirical and methodological contributions to the burgeoning discussions about the consequences of immigration enforcement for students and how best to measure them.

Immigration Raids and Hispanic Head Start Enrollment
Stephanie Potochnick, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Jade Jenkins, University of California, Irvine and Robert Santillano, Mathematica

Cutting to the Core: How Immigration Enforcement Activities Affect Student Achievement, Absenteeism and Wellbeing in the California CORE Districts
J. Jacob Kirksey, University of California, Santa Barbara and Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Seton Hall University

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