Immigration Enforcement and Student Outcomes
During the past 20 years, immigration enforcement increased dramatically in the U.S. interior. There is a growing recognition that immigration enforcement in the U.S. interior has spillover effects onto U.S. citizens, particularly the family of unauthorized immigrants. U.S. citizen children in mixed status families are particularly likely to be affected. Over 5 million children are estimated to have at least one unauthorized parent, and 80 percent of these children are U.S. citizens. These chapters contribute to a full accounting of the costs of immigration enforcement by investigating its impacts on educational outcomes, which have long-term ramifications for the United States.
I focus on the effects of partnerships between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement. Although raids by ICE agents, whether at worksites or in the community, are particularly salient, the majority of arrests by ICE result not from direct arrests by ICE agents but from transfers to ICE from federal, state, or local custody. In my first chapter, I use the staggered rollout of Secure Communities, a biometric sharing program activated in every U.S. county between 2008 and 2013. I examine this program's effects on county-level academic achievement and school enrollment. In my second and third chapters, I examine the impacts of another type of partnership between ICE and local law enforcement, 287(g) programs, on achievement, attendance, out-of-school suspensions, and school mobility within North Carolina. In North Carolina, nine counties were approved to establish 287(g) programs, and another fifteen applied but were not approved to participate. I use a triple difference strategy in which I compare educational outcomes for different groups of students in these two sets of counties before and after activation of 287(g) programs.Together, these studies provide evidence on how partnerships between local law enforcement and ICE affect educational outcomes for students, as well as which students are likely to experience impacts.
I find that the activation of 287(g) programs decreases school engagement by decreasing attendance. This effect is concentrated at the top of the distribution, increasing chronic absenteeism (missing 15 or more days per year), and is driven by high school students. In contrast, I find more mixed results for the effects of both types of partnerships on math and English Language Arts (ELA) achievement in grades 3-8. Although I observe a small decline in ELA achievement for Hispanic students following the activation of Secure Communities, this decline may result from other factors correlated with activation. I observe no effect of 287(g) programs on achievement.
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