Education Challenges Ahead for Many Immigrant Youth

As students nationwide head back to school, here’s a look at education issues confronting immigrant youth.

August marked the one year anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and a recent report from the Migration Policy Institute found that a little less than half of the estimated 1.9 million undocumented youth in the U.S. meet DACA’s education requirements. The same report concluded that as many as 400,000 undocumented youth will be reaching the legal age for DACA within a year.

Undocumented students who have not received DACA have limited access to higher education because they are often not eligible for student loans and scholarships.

Another study around the anniversary of DACA showed that the vast majority of DACA recipients are Mexican immigrants. In New York City Mexicans have the city’s highest high school dropout rate, as highlighted by Fi2W reporters Angela Sharp and Mica Schofield:

Mexicans are both the fastest growing and youngest major ethnic group in New York City, almost half of which are under the age of 25. Only 37 percent of the city’s Mexican population ages 16-24 are enrolled in school.

Asian American students are often overlooked in immigration debates, but they face the same challenges as other immigrants. But because educational standards are higher in many Asian countries than they are in the U.S., some Asian immigrant parents are concerned their kids are at a disadvantage attending U.S. public schools. Earlier this year we reported on Choi Fairbanks, a Korean mother who is on a quest to find the best possible option for her 4-year-old son who will soon enter kindergarten.

Across the nation, there’s growing demand for Mandarin instruction as Asians have become the fastest growing immigrant group in the U.S. Check out Fi2W reporter Lan Trinh’s video on a dual language Chinese-English program in New York City.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation.

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AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in 2 Worlds (Fi2W) is an independent media outlet, journalism training program, and launchpad for emerging immigrant journalists and media makers of color. Our work brings positive and meaningful change to America's newsrooms and has a broader impact on how immigration is reported and the ethnic and racial composition of news organizations.