Patricia Gándara and Jongyeon Ee, "Schools Under Siege: The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Educational Equity" (Harvard Education Press, 2021)

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Much has been reported and discussed about the hotly debated issue of immigration enforcement, yet a question is still to be explored: What is the impact of the immigration enforcement on schools and our educational system? In Schools Under Siege: The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Educational Equity (Harvard Education Press, 2021), Patricia Gándara and Jongyeon Ee addressed this question using rich and comprehensive data from their survey and interview studies. More than 6 million school aged children and youths live in a household in which at least one of their close family members is undocumented. Schools Under Siege sheds light on what the immigration enforcement by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) means to these children. The book also explores the multi-faceted consequences, both direct and indirect, for their classmates, educators, schools, and communities.

Schools Under Siege found that fear, stress, and trauma invoked by the threat of ICE detention and deportation contribute to increased absenteeism, decreased student achievement, and parent disengagement. Bullying becomes more widespread, and a multitude of other effects impact school climate and student health and well-being. Amplifying the burden, these effects are experienced disproportionately in poorly funded districts and Title I schools and are felt more acutely among vulnerable populations such as immigrant students, English language learners, and Latinx students.

In this episode, you will hear their findings, with vivid examples, about the challenges that these children encountered living under the fear of being separated from their family members. Many children are American citizens and they faced the challenges of absenteeism, trauma, bully, among other things. Patricia and Jongyeon also discussed various innovative ways that educators come up with to support these students, including the idea of sanctuary schooling. They offer informative suggestions to educators and policy makers and engage the public in understanding the profound challenges schools and educators are facing today in supporting disadvanted and minoritized studenets.

Patricia Gándara is research professor and codirector of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. She is also director of education for the University of California–Mexico Initiative.

Jongyeon Ee is an assistant professor at the School of Education, Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

Pengfei Zhao is a critical researcher and qualitative research methodologist based at the University of Florida. She is currently working on a book manuscript studying the coming of age experience of rural Chinese youth during and right after the Cultural Revolution.

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