Immigration Enforcement and Student Achievement in the Wake of Secure Communities

Publication Date:
Oct 2019
Published In:

Over the past decade, U.S. immigration enforcement policies have increasingly targeted unauthorized immigrants residing in the U.S. interior, many of whom are the parents of U.S.-citizen children. Heightened immigration enforcement may affect student achievement through stress, income effects, or student mobility. This article's author uses one immigration enforcement policy, Secure Communities, to examine this relationship. She uses the staggered activation of Secure Communities across counties to measure its relationship with average achievement for Hispanic students, as well as non-Hispanic Black and White students. She finds that the activation of Secure Communities was associated with decreases in average achievement for Hispanic students in English Language Arts as well as Black students in English Language Arts and math. Similarly, she finds that increases in removals are associated with decreases in achievement for Hispanic and Black students. She notes that the timing of rollout is potentially correlated with other county trends affecting results.


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