Illegal immigration has been a major topic of discussion in America for years. What is discussed less often, however, is the academic plight of the children of illegal immigrants. Should these immigrant children be allowed to attend public schools? What happens to them if they cannot attend? With new standards of excellence in every state, and the demands of “No Child Left Behind” still looming over each district, should schools be required to take on the education of students who speak little, if any, English, may have learning or emotional concerns, and are not citizens? Both sides of this issue raise cogent points that must be carefully considered.
Don’t Punish the Innocent
Children of undocumented immigrants are not the decision makers in their families. They do not have the ability to decide where they will live. In denying undocumented immigrant children an education, America would be punishing them for something they did not choose to do. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution states that all persons will be given equal opportunity and protection under the law, therefore these immigrant children deserve to be in school as much as children born in the United States or naturalized citizens (Brennan, 1982).
Long Term Gain
These children, unless caught and deported, will grow to be working adults. It is better that the states educate the children in order for them be able to become part of the work force than to reject them, setting up a whole class of uneducated adults who would require state and federal assistance in the future. By allowing undocumented children into schools, states are protecting, and in many cases, growing the fu...
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... are already at a risk due to their standing in the law as illegal immigrants, they need to be in the safe environment of a school in order to protect them from further harm.
Undocumented students did not ask to be illegal. They did not choose to break the law by coming to the United States. Many of them are too young to understand why wanting to live in America is illegal. We should not punish the innocent for their parents’ unlawful entry into the country. The border must be protected, for sure, but once they are inside the country, we must take them into our schools and into our lives in order to make their lives better, not push them out and make their already troubled lives even harder. We need to be a sanctuary or those students who need it, be they citizens of our country, or of another, because they are only children, and they need us.
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