Harvard Study Says Nearly 85 Percent of Educators Surveyed Have Observed Students’ Fear of ICE

Feb 6, 2020
8:03 AM

A study published Wednesday by the Immigration Initiative at Harvard (IIH) found “that nearly 85 percent of educators report observing students’ overt expressions of fear of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) intervention in their lives,” a release about the study said.

The release also noted that the fear was “extensive” among 44 percent of educators surveyed.

The “Under Siege: The Disturbing Impact of Immigration Enforcement on the Nation’s School” study “aimed to understand how educators perceive the effects of the new immigration enforcement regime as well as how immigration enforcement is affecting students who are not the targets of enforcement activity,” the release explained. The study’s co-authors surveyed more than 3,600 educators across 24 school districts and also got input from two educator networks

Here were some of the findings noted by the release:

  • “Nearly 80 percent of educators report observing emotional and behavioral problems among their immigrant students, interfering with students’ ability to understand lessons.”
  • “More than half (58 percent) report increased absenteeism, which affects student performance as well as school funding and resources, with educators having greater difficulty to improve test scores and narrow achievement gaps.”
  • “Sixty-one percent of respondents observed an impact on academic performances, and in the Northeast and South regions, more than two-thirds of respondents reported a drop in achievement among students.”
  • “Two-thirds of respondents report indirect effects on other students of having peers threatened by immigration enforcement.”

“It is critical that policymakers understand that these students are overwhelmingly U.S. citizens, our children, but as long as their parents are targets of enforcement, much of the burden of these policies will fall on the children,” said study co-author Patricia Gándara, research professor and co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. “And to the extent that they are not able to access an equitable education, or even any education at all, their futures and their communities’ futures are at risk.”

The IIH “was created to advance and promote interdisciplinary scholarship, original research, and intellectual exchange among stakeholders interested in immigration policy and immigrant communities,” the release noted.