What is it about?

Disruptive events, such as parental divorce, neighborhood violence, or relocation, can have a negative impact on children’s educational outcomes. We know less about how shocks resulting from immigration enforcement relate to the educational outcomes of children in targeted minority groups. The Secure Communities program has increased the risk of deportation and led to rising apprehension and insecurity among undocumented migrants and the wider Hispanic community in the US. This study assesses how the implementation of Secure Communities relates to the test scores of Hispanic students. Dynamic difference in differences show that the policy has a negative impact on Hispanic students’ subsequent English scores, with no impact on white and black students’ scores. In addition, Hispanic students living in the South, rural areas, and areas with high proportions of likely undocumented migrants are disproportionately impacted. Hispanic students in sanctuary jurisdictions, which reduce the likelihood of deportation, are not impacted.

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Why is it important?

The findings show that immigration enforcement not only affects undocumented migrants through the direct risk of deportation, but also has unintended negative consequences for their children, most of whom are US-born and thus US citizens. In this way, policies such as Secure Communities can contribute to educational and social inequalities in the United States.


US immigration policies take increasingly drastic measures to police migrants but we continue to have a limited understanding of their consequences for individuals and the wider society. I believe it is important to investigate the impact of these policies, and am proud to have contributed to this body of research.

Rosa Weber

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Apprehension and educational outcomes among Hispanic students in the United States: The impact of Secure Communities, PLoS ONE, October 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276636.
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