Blog: The Educated Reporter

Alabama’s Immigration Law Hurts Students, Says CAP

The Center for American Progress has a feisty take on Alabama’s new immigration law, and 10 reasons why it’s bad for students … and the state. The points raised by CAP should certainly resonate in other communities considering similar preemptive education policies.

This can be a tough story for K-12 journalists to tackle — if you do find a family willing to cooperate and talk about the challenges of being undocumented immigrants with children in a public school system, you usually have to provide anonymity or agree to hold back certain descriptive details.

There have been some excellent examples of college-age students stepping out of the shadows in an effort to bolster the DREAM Act. (Check out this one about Bernard Pastor of Cincinnati, and, just last week, this San Antonio Express-News story about Texas’ Benita Veliz.)

But typically those individuals intentionally find the media, rather than the other way around.

For a bigger picture view of the potential benefits of educating undocumented students, check out this Inside Higher Ed commentary by Ronald Trowbridge, a research fellow at the Center for College Productivity and Affordability.

One side note, I’m curious how many of the people who agree with Trowbridge’s piece might also have a problem with its headline: Educated Illegal Immigrants Bring Fiscal Gain. I notice the phrase “illegal immigrants” is also used on the CCPA’s web site. For more on the debate over “illegal” versus “undocumented”, consider NPR’s thoughtful piece from last December.