The concept of criminalizing and villainizing one’s immigration status is now relatively ingrained in Americans as normal. Showing pictures of a former prison, turned detention center really brought home the idea that those incarcerated and those being held pending immigration hearings are often facing the same conditions, treatment, and societal judgment. However, Professor García Hernández urges us to take a step back and remember that is not normal! (Not that anyone should receive such treatment.) To assume all migrants are criminals has become a common misassumption for many. While America may have no issue criminalizing something like that status of your documents, such a concept is not shared around the world. Professor García Hernández also emphasized the racial implications of criminalizing immigration status, those most impacted by the criminalization and villainization of undocumented status are those with brown skin.
It’s important to remember this background when considering undocumented students in public schools. Should someone’s immigration status should affect if they are worthy to receive a education? The question, absurd to some like myself, is the serious debate. While the Supreme Court has said in Plyer v. Doe that undocumented children could not be specifically excluded from public schools—emphasizing immigration status was outside the control of the children—that did not end the debate of immigration status and education. There are many other potential barriers for students without documents to receive an education. Although there is no federal law that prohibits the admission of undocumented persons to U.S. colleges, yet there are many financial barriers for undocumented students to pay for that education. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal loans. And many state institutions do not afford undocumented states in-state tuition.
For those who equally are equally outraged by the way something like one’s status of immigration affects so many areas of life, read Crimmigration Law.
Learn more about crimmigration here.
Posted by: Katie Steefel