Monday, July 10, 2017

Fear and Longing: Life for Students with Undocumented Parents

Fear and Longing: Life for Students with Undocumented Parents:

Fear and Longing: Life for Students with Undocumented Parents
With parents targeted for deportation, students are traumatized, often unable to learn - and increasingly turn to educators for solace and advice.




AUSTIN, Texas—”Would you go?”
This is the question that silences 16-year-old Jacqui, tightens her wide smile into a thin line, and provokes a low sigh.
Her mother sits next to her—motionless—her gaze transfixed on a crack in the sidewalk.
The answer is no. Simply, reluctantly, painfully, no. If push comes to shove, and federal immigration agents deport Jacqui’s parents to Mexico, a country they left 18 years ago to find work, she would not go.
Jacqui would stay in the U.S., alone, to finish high school, go to college, and make good on her considered plans to earn a law degree. She is a citizen. They are not.
It’s a no-win situation that promises nothing but agony for millions of undocumented U.S. immigrant parents and their children.
“It is not something I like to think about,” says Jacqui quietly, closing the topic of conversation. Her mother still does not speak.
We are not criminals. We are mothers, and we are fathers. We are people who work, and who take care of our children. That’s it! Not criminals. Not criminals.” – Jacqui’s mother
About one in 14 students, or 6.9 percent from kindergarten through twelfth grade, have at least one undocumented immigrant parent, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center report. Most are U.S.-born, American citizens, like Jacqui, while a much smaller number (1.4 percent) are undocumented themselves.
Their numbers vary widely across the U.S., from nearly 18 percent, or about one in five students, in Nevada, to 0.1 percent in West Virginia.
For the most part, their parents are like Jacqui’s. They crossed the border to find work at least a decade ago, statistics show, and then put down roots as their Fear and Longing: Life for Students with Undocumented Parents:

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