Immigration Policy That Affects Education Of Immigrants Criminology Essay

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Currently access to education for illegal immigrants have been block by the Federal government through criteria for obtaining funding for an education and school's strict policy on what kind of students they can admitted into the school system. Undocumented immigrants totaling 9.3 million are in the country, which represents 26 % of the total foreign-born population. Our government must look closely at Rev. Jesse Jackson's great phrase, "The hands that picked the cotton, and the hands that picked the lettuce, just picked the new president.", because he mentions that it was not only the black community but the Latino community that help place our present government into it position. We must now show our appreciation by giving them access to an education that every human being deserves.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) currently only accepts students applying for aid if they have a valid social security number. The school system only accepts student if they are international student, out of state, or permanent resident/U.S. Citizen/Refugees into the school system. If we change this system allowing access for illegal immigrants that are already living here, we can decrease a population that is unskillful. This will lead to decreasing the achievement gap in education. Technical job will be kept at home and stop being out resource. Diverting funds from the border patrol towards education, the government will improve a system that doesn't have any alternative resource for funding and in the long term, satisfy society's need for a better educational system and improving the lives of illegal immigration.

My first visit to the United States was on a vacation to Miami. After that I decided that I wanted to attend college here, merely because my parents could afford it. So two summers later I was here in California looking at school to attend in the fall. Many immigrants start off like me, coming to the United States, in the hope of making it big or getting a very good education. The immigration process for a foreigner with money is easy, but if you do not have that money, you make it hard on yourself and the government in your quest to get into the United States legally or illegally. We can see that the government emphasizes enforcement over educating since "The U.S. government border patrol is the largest arms-bearing branch of the U.S. government except for the military itself, with a budget well in excess of $1 billion per year." [1] Many immigrants that I know personally have gone back to school or are here for school from my country, but they came here legally. What has happened to those who have come here illegally or overstay their time here on the quest for a better life is a different story. The immigration legal process has hindered our education system by not allowing illegal immigrants access to the education system and there are many good things that will come out of that access.

In Aristotle's view, slaves and alien "immigrants" live in the realm of necessity; their fate is determined by the conditions of economic life. Citizens, by contrast, live in the realm of choice; their fate is determined in the political arena by their own collective decisions. This note pertains especially to the United States where we get to vote on everything, and our government tries to work for its citizens. Most immigrants find themselves in the United States seeking a better life through jobs and education. The United States as one of my professor noted in class is an industrial country depending on immigration to balance their wages and help in producing workers necessary for meager jobs, these kinds of jobs do not entail higher education. The United States is one nation that has a very selective immigration policy. This policy somehow is hindering our process to succeed, by taking away access to those illegal immigrants, by blocking access to education, and legal employment.

Immigration has long been a process familiar to the United States since the U.S. was founded as an immigrant nation. Undocumented migration, officially referred to as unauthorized immigration, occurs in two primary ways. An individual can illegally enter the US ("entry without inspection") or can enter legally with a visa but remain beyond the visa time limit ("visa overstayers"). Illegal border crossings (entry without inspection), primarily by Mexicans and Central Americans, make up the majority of undocumented immigration and occur predominantly along the US-Mexico border. Overstayers, who are much more geographically diverse, composed about 33 percent of the undocumented population in 2000. [2] 

Undocumented immigration to the US was not a substantial issue until the late 1960s. The undocumented immigrant population rose from a few hundred thousand, primarily agricultural workers, in the late 1960s to several million, largely living in urban areas, in 1980. This increase in the undocumented population was partly due to the end of the Bracero program in 1964, in response to greater regulation of working conditions and declining political support. The Bracero program allowed seasonal migrants from Mexico to work as temporary farm laborers in the US. Although the immigrant population size started to increase from 1960, I will focus this paper on the years 1990 - 2009. I will be using this period to compare how many came in annually ranging in age and sex. Quantifying age and sex demonstrates who is immigrating to go to school and who is coming to work.

The 2002 Current Population Survey shows that immigrants compared to Native population attaining education has shifted over the range from 2005 to 2008. Who are these immigrants that are making these changes? Undocumented immigrants totaling 9.3 million are in the country, which represents 26 % of the total foreign-born population. Mexicans make up over half of the undocumented immigrants, about 5.3 million. Another 2.2 million are from other Latin American countries. About 10 % are from Asia, 5 percent from Europe and Canada, and 5 percent from the rest of the world. Almost two-thirds of the undocumented population lives in just six states of which California represents 26 %. [3] 


Status Quo

When looking into going to school as an ill-legal immigrant, it is very difficult. For parents wanting to place their children into the high School and kindergarten system it is complex situation for them. Illegal immigrants take their children to school every day with the fear that Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will take their children away. There are many incident on the News of ICE raiding the elementary and high School for illegal immigrants. But if illegal immigrants do get pass that stage and try to attend a community college; Let's look more carefully, at per se a local Community college such as Contra Costa College, there criteria for applying to school includes is also complicated.

You are 18 years of age or older.

You are a high school graduate.

You have passed the California High School Proficiency Exam, and have been awarded a Certificate of Proficiency by the State Board of Education.

You are a high school student and complete a High School Student Concurrent Enrollment form which requires your principal or counselor's signature.

You are an international student who has been accepted for admission.

You have a Social Security number.

You are an indentured apprentice enrolled in related training programs.

In addition to the difficulty of applying to school, comes paying for it. According to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), each student applying for aid must meet these main criteria, which establish who receives aid while going to school?

Be a U.S. citizen or eligible permanent resident.

Have a valid Social Security Number (unless you're from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau).

Be registered with Selective Service if you are male and 18 to 25 years of age (go to for more information).

Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate or pass an exam approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program at a school that participates in the federal student aid programs.

After collecting data on how education spread across the spectrum of natives, Naturalized U.S. Citizen and Non U.S. Citizen from the U.S. Census Bureau, fig. 1 I strongly suggests that Non U.S. Citizen immigrants are likely to not have achieved any grade level above a high school diploma. Why is the government spending so much money on immigration enforcement when they should try to use that money for education? If we educated the 24% of immigrants that are not getting a high school diploma, it will help our Social Security system in the future. According to Center for Immigration studies memorandum in April 2010, "the achievement of Latino which are heavily illegal immigrants or children of illegal immigrants are performing at or near the bottom in schools. Some researchers find that around 50 percent of Hispanic students do not receive a diploma four years after entering high school. In 2006, Hispanics constituted approximately 19 percent of the national school-age population. The Census Bureau estimates that one in four students will be Latino by 2025. Given current trends, it is projected the United States will experience a significant decline in skills and income." Fig.1 has shown that the Center for immigrants has placed non-immigrants as one group that is not being recruited or retain in school, two reasons could be lack of financial aid and access to school. Fig. 1 also shows us that although natives are the highest in obtaining high school diplomas, it seem that they are not achieving a bachelor or Masters Degree at the same rate as of high school degree. The Naturalized "Once immigrants" are obtaining more masters degree than the natives. This is significant, because it means that if you give immigrants a chance at getting access to the educational system they will continue their education on to more advance level than natives. This will benefit us in the long term, by not having our high tech jobs out source because we cannot supply the demand for high skilled labor amongst our own people.

Fig. 1: Education of Immigrants Compared to Natives

With this said, we must first change the immigration law that is imposing negative externalities on our society by keeping our illegal immigrant children out of the schooling system. By doing so, we are increasing and of immigrants that are not obtaining an education. So we must start with the following two alternatives to change the pattern of uneducated illegal immigrants.

School funding from the Federal government (FAFSA)

Under the current system, only student with social security number can obtain school funding. Implementing a system that coincide with the present Social Security system to keep track of who is barrowing money through subsidized, unsubsidized, parent plus, and plus loans will not impose a high cost to tax payers. A system for illegal immigrants can be obtained by placing a note on your social security number (Valid for School Only) in front of the social security number. As a immigrant to the United Stated, my social security card had (Valid for work only, with DHS Authorization). One policy that all schools have in place if your fees are not paid fully is that you do not obtain your degree until it is paid off. The FAFSA system can also apply this to their system. Once you are finish with school, you can obtain your degree from the school if FAFSA report that you have fully paid off your debt or you became a permanent resident/ U.S. Citizen. Both party wins, in that the government funds your education, making you educated and you paid them back the money loan with interest.

Accepting illegal immigrants into the schooling system- School Board and Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

The School board must implement a system that will allow illegal immigrants access to the schooling system. School should use the same social security number used by FAFSA to verify illegal immigrants' status. Illegal immigrants can be charged an extra fee to offset cost that schools would take on to keep record and take of illegal immigrants attending their schools. ICE must impose a criterion that once students can prove that they are going to school with a school ID year and data along with a Social security number, they can't take them away to be deported. The cost of implementing this system is very minimal compared to the cost of border patrol.


Administrative and Political Feasibility

Establishing rules and regulations for a governing body such as the federal government and local school board is feasible when it comes to legalizing or decriminalizing the process of getting a school degree. Giving access to illegal immigrants to obtain an education with the new approach of obtaining your social security number will benefit illegal immigrants by giving them an education; our state will no longer be at the bottom for having the lowest student retention and grade point average. The loss will be minimal in comparison to the gain, in that tax payers will not be tax more, because we can redirect a small percentage of the money use for U.S. border patrol towards education. Students can obtain favorable loan FAFSA by reducing qualifying criteria to make it more accessible.


The benefit will out weight the cost in long term, because most illegal immigrants in the United States are here trying to make a living and seek opportunity to become legalized. If our government waits until this population becomes legalized to get educated, we will eventually have a high illiterate population. If our government starts educating this population we will raise as a nation from under achievers to educated high achievers. Efficiency to the alternative policy with regards to FAFSA and school boards will outweigh the cost of implementing the changes, because it will only take administration to make changes to the criteria for gaining access to FAFSA. Money used to educated illegal immigrants can come from the money already allocated for border patrol.


Status Quo

Efficiency: The government is not supplying the school system with the finance it needs to raise the level of the education being provided by the schooling system. The school boards are cutting programs, laying off teachers and even closing schools because these schools can no longer be supported by the system.

Political and Administrative Feasibility: The school board cannot do anything about lack of support from the government. The government is not offering any support, because they won't put money into the education, instead they use that money for Homeland Security.

School funding from the Federal government (FAFSA)

Efficiency: The government can divert funds from the border patrol and use that money to help fund the school system. Our government failure in raising the standard of students obtaining a degree by recruitment and retention will fall by a small percentage. Eventually this population will start obtaining skilled jobs because employer will be able to employ them under the immigration law that allows employer to high skilled labor, this will leads to more people paying into or contributed to the Medicare and SSI system. Having access to FAFSA will give more illegal immigrant access to a good education which will produce positive externalities for the good of society in the long term.

Political and Administrative Feasibility: The process of undocumented immigration has various effects on immigrants. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, or, in its full name, the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1348) was a bill discussed in the 110th United States Congress that would have provided legal status and a path to legal citizenship for the approximately 12 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. The government would only need to amend that bill to give access to illegal immigrant a pathway to an education. Government would not need to come up with more money to finance this law but to take from one pot and place in another.

Accepting illegal immigrants into the schooling system- School Board and Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Efficiency: Giving access to education will take away from people being paid "under the table". The Immigration Policy Center Special Report in October 2009 stated that "Immigrant workers are often victims of wage theft by employers who pay less than minimum wage or do not pay them at all. This, in turn, is bad for all U.S. workers. When vulnerable unauthorized workers are willing to accept substandard wages and working conditions, it undermines U.S. workers in many industries, and makes it difficult for law‐abiding employers to compete with those employers who hire unauthorized workers in order to make a bigger profit."

Political and Administrative Feasibility: The government will not be losing anything, but gaining the respect for providing a better system to educate our future leaders. The government will be improving the system by proving for the nation and not selective population to be educated. If the present system that blocks immigrant from FAFSA and enrollment at school gets passed, we would see a slight shift in employment of immigrants. The main reason why they are here is for the education and the job market. If we give them jobs they will come, the more jobs open, the more money will get paid into the fragile economy. The population of immigrants is expected to double over the next fifty years due to fertility of Latinas and Asians. This will yield more children with an education, skilled labor, and more taxes being paid into the system not only from wages but from loan interests.


Fig. 2 below shows that the natives are becoming under employed and attaining fewer high positions because they are not obtaining the professional degrees, so immigrants are taking over. This may harm our economy, since many immigrants dollars are sent home to their native country. We need to legalize them in order to obtain those benefits their families are getting from them working here in this country. Having immigrants' families here, there is no need for them to send money back to their native land, hence keep that dollar in the U.S.

Fig. 2: Employment of Immigrant compared to Natives

If the people that we depend on are not getting educated at a level where they can carry this economic debt or take on the jobs that need advanced degree then what is this country to do? We must educate that 24% that is uneducated so they can take on the big job. We need to get them an education and legalize them in order to get all the tax dollars we can from interest loans or income tax. I recommend that funds be redirected from border patrol and implementing unenforceable laws to educating our immigrant population through accessibility to schools and implementing a system where the FAFSA can use a different social security system. Illegal immigrants are a resource, not a problem.