Personal tools
You are here: Home Research K-12 Education Immigration/Immigrant Students The Impact of a Broken Immigration System on U.S. Students and Schools

The Impact of a Broken Immigration System on U.S. Students and Schools

Authors: Patricia Gándara, Lucrecia Santibañez, Jongyeon Ee, Julieta Rico
Date Published: December 05, 2023

A new collaborative research brief from UCLA’s Latino Policy and Politics Institute, Center for the Transformation of Schools and Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles updates and builds on CRP's previous analysis of a 2017-18 survey examining the harmful impacts of immigration enforcement on Latinx children of undocumented immigrants.
Related Documents



Our broken immigration system denies millions of students who are legal U.S. citizens their right to an equitable education. These are the children of the 10 million individuals who have lived, worked, and raised families in the U.S. for decades without legal authorization. In 2019, one in eight U.S. residents (12% of the country’s population) was a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent (American Immigration Council, 2021). 

While the public’s attention remains directed to the border—the epicenter of the debate about immigration policy—the children of undocumented immigrants who have already crossed the border exist in permanent limbo, fearful every day that their parents will be snatched away from them, and wondering if they have any future in this country. Many of these students identify as Latinx. Instead of focusing on their education, these students struggle with this uncertainty and as a result are often absent from or inattentive. Their teachers also struggle to motivate them and sometimes to protect them. The broken immigration system hurts schools and creates victims across the spectrum of race and ethnicity in the United States, but it is especially acute for these students. 

Anti-immigrant rhetoric and immigration enforcement affect not just the children of immigrants, most of whom were born in this country and are American citizens, but their friends, schools, and ultimately their entire community. Ironically, the United States is dependent on the children of immigrant workers to fill the jobs that the declining U.S. population cannot fill. As of 2019, one in six U.S. workers was an immigrant and contributed billions of dollars in taxes (American Immigration Council, 2021). Immigrants are essential to the economic well-being of the nation. 

This research brief summarizes key findings from “Schools Under Siege: The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Educational Equity” by Dr. Patricia Gándara and Dr. Jongyeon Ee, and updates the analysis shedding renewed light on the degree to which millions of U.S.-born students and their school communities are impacted by aggressive immigration enforcement. 


 This brief can be found on eScholarship HERE.

Document Actions

Copyright © 2010 UC Regents