Should Children of Illegal Immigrants Be Able to Get an Education?
Education is a very important topic that impacts our nation as a whole. Some American citizens think education is needed for everyone while others don’t. With the rise of illegal immigration, more and more people are wondering whether or not the children of illegal immigrants should have the same rights as the children of American citizens. Many people say that it is too expensive to give them an education, but if they don’t get an education, the United States can see negative effects in the future. It is only right that children of illegal immigrants have the opportunity to get an education in order to learn the skills to make their lives and the country better.
Illegal immigrants come to the United States knowing that they are at the risk of getting caught, going to jail, and getting deported out of the country. This causes a lot of fear and anxiety in their every day lives. The main reason many immigrants come here is for work and to better their family’s lives. To better their family’s lives, their children need an education. Today, children of illegal immigrants still have the chance to get an education because of the 1982 case, Plyer v. Doe, where “the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that a 1975 Texas law denying public-school education to children of illegal aliens violated the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause” (Miller). Having this law is very helpful for those who do not have a citizenship. Most children of illegal immigrants face many obstacles throughout their schooling. Some start out not knowing English very well and do not have the help they need from their parents at home. Giving them the basic studies and a place for them to learn can help these kids develop in a way that would not be possible without a public education.
The numbers of illegal immigrants continue to go up in the US, but mostly in states like Texas, Florida, and California. According to Berna Miller, the education of these children is important because California is already facing a shortage of highly skilled workers. If children of illegal immigrants are not allowed an education, they may turn to gangs and crime because they do not have a good foundation. If these kids grow up with violence and drugs around, it only makes their communities more dangerous for everybody. And not having a good education does not help in getting a job in the future. The same happens when the situation is turned around. If children of illegal immigrants are given an opportunity to become more skilled, they can get a better job later on which will help out the economy. Some argue that the costs of educating these children is too high, but when compared to the possibility of these children developing into adults who contribute to the economy, the United States can see itself having positive long term effects.
Although some people feel that illegal immigrants shouldn’t come to the United States, others feel the opposite. Teachers, schools and universities are standing up for the rights of undocumented children or children with undocumented parents. In November 30, 2016 “presidents of 27 Jesuit colleges and universities pledged themselves to ‘protect to the fullest extent of the law undocumented students on our campuses’ and to ‘promote retention of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program'” (A pledge to protect ‘Dreamers’). It is important that these schools stand up for the rights of illegal immigrants’ children because not all had a choice when coming to this country.Â The presidents that stood up for these kids said their “communities are immeasurably enriched by the presence, intelligence, and committed contributions of undocumented students, as well as of faculty and staff of every color and from every faith tradition” (A pledge to protect ‘Dreamers’). That statement shows that having people from other cultures in the same education system helps everyone. Children of illegal immigrants are getting the chance to educate themselves while they also make their school better with their culture.
Another problem that comes up with educating children of illegal immigrants is that even though they can get a public school education, most do not go to college.Â “In 2008, about 65,000 illegal immigrants graduated from American high schools, but only 5 percent went on to college” (Preston). This can be because most immigrants do not have a lot of money and cannot apply for financial aid to help their kids. And if their children are illegal as well, they can feel afraid of being exposed when going to a university. Not helping these kids can be harmful in the future because they will remain low-skilled workers. In this day and age it is very important that people get a good education to get higher paying jobs. This is why the DREAM act helps these kids a lot. “The idea behind the Dream Act is that the U.S. should assimilate, rather than expel, dedicated young people who are not at fault for their illegal status” (Preston).Â By giving these kids the chance to better themselves, the United States can advance more in the future. By helping children of immigrants, we are creating members of a society that can contribute economically or even culturally. This helps the whole nation. It is true that even people who don’t support these kids now will see a good change in this country later. Even if they’re illegal, these kids can create the next invention that can change the world.
Many people are supporting the higher education of illegal immigrant children. According to Rosa Ramirez, “a student at Miami-Dade College was classified as an out-of-state student because she could not provide the legal status of her parent.” In the case, it is said that the student was born in Florida and that she had graduated high school in the state. The university’s rule was making her pay a lot more because of her parents’ status. It should not matter where her parents stand, what really matters is a person’s motivation to get a good education. By making her pay extra, she had another obstacle to face before she could go to college. If she did not speak up, she would have lost the chance to continue getting a higher education. Luckily a Florida judge ruled that making her pay out-of-state tuition “violates the equal protection of the laws guaranteed under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.” More and more cases like this are being won by children of illegal immigrants. This shows that people are opening up their eyes to the importance of education for everyone and that if someone is willing to put in effort to get an education, then they deserve it.
It has not been easy in the past years for children of illegal immigrants to register for public schooling. Even if the law says they should get an education, a lot of schools in the country are making it hard for these kids to enroll. According to Tim Walker, “one 17 year-old student recounted to the researchers that she was told that she could not start school until after exams, delaying her enrollment by four weeks.” This is because some schools think that children of illegal immigrants are going to fail when taking standardized tests. These schools are afraid of looking bad by accepting these students. Education should be about making people better not just caring about grades. Another thing that some public schools do is make up a lot of rules that have to do with residency or they make the enrollment process too hard for some immigrant families to understand. Sometimes if a public school does not want to accept a student, “they will steer students to alternative education programs, including, but not limited to, those intended for children with serious behavioral problems, even if the student in question displays no such issues” (Walker). This is another unfair way to treat children of illegal immigrants. If a student does not have behavioral problems and only wants to succeed, they should not be forced to take another step back.
Even though it seems like the country is split up over this problem, it is good to see things through a human’s plain point of view. If a human did nothing wrong and is being denied an education which only makes a them better, then there is a problem. If we let children of illegal immigrants follow their dreams and make something of themselves then we can expect good results. By giving these kids the tools, they can create a better America in the future. Many of them have different talents and intelligence that can be a good thing for this country. Their parents risked a lot to help them have a brighter future. If we deny education to children of illegal immigrants, we are denying the American dream.
“A Pledge to Protect ‘Dreamers’.” America 19 Dec. 2016: 10. General OneFile. Web. 9 Feb. 2017.
Miller, Berna. “Educating the “other” Children.” American Demographics Oct. 1997: 49. General OneFile. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
Preston, Julia. “Raised in the U.S., but Still Illegal: How Should the U.S. Treat a Million Young People Who Were Brought Here Illegally as Children?” New York Times Upfront 15 Mar. 2010: 8. General OneFile. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
Ramirez, Rosa. “Judge: U.S.-Born Children of Undocumented Parents Can Pay In-State Tuition.” Nationaljournal.com 6 Sept. 2012: n. pag. General OneFile. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
Walker, Tim. “How Undocumented Students Are Turned Away From Public Schools.” NEA Today. N.p., 23 Apr. 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.