Education & Immigration (by Janit, Emily, and Soledad)

picteampicOur team decided we wanted to focus our project on immigration and how it affects education, with an emphasis on immigrant youth of documented and undocumented status. Because of our varying locations through the summer term, we concluded that our project would be web-based. At the beginning of the term, we met virtually for the first time and came to the decision that an informational blog coupled with a gofundme campaign would be the best, most effective way to spread knowledge and awareness about immigration and education while advocating and fundraising for an issue we were passionate about.

The week after, Soledad gathered information on various organizations throughout the Portland area that she felt were good candidates to fundraise for. After a unanimous vote, we chose the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO). We felt that IRCO was an awesome organization to support because they assist immigrants and refugees in numerous ways through various programs, including programs specifically geared toward supporting the success of immigrant students and their families in the Portland area. Within the proceeding weeks, we conducted research on various topics that were relative to issues of immigration and education. We each published blog posts ranging from op-eds to informative posts based on the topics of our choice, as well as videos and links that pertained to immigration and education. In addition, we reached out to our communities via our personal social media accounts and discussed the relation between immigration and education while advocating for our cause and promoting our gofundme campaign. After 8 days, we were able to raise $100 total. Throughout our research and advocacy, we learned that there were many variables that played parts in the relation between immigration and education. Overall, we found that mainstream society viewed students of immigrant status, both legal and illegal, as foreign, un-American, and a threat to the collective “American” identity of our nation. This attitude effects the performance and self-value of these students as it is both dehumanizing and ostracizing. Through our work and by the support of others, we were able to raise money to support an organization that assists immigrant students, families, and individuals in their success in the U.S. In the process we have also educated ourselves while spreading awareness to our communities about this crucial issue. We have only scratched the surface with our work, and we plan on continuing to support immigrant students and families within the education system.

Check out our PowerPoint Presentation HERE for more information.

Immigration + Education stats in Oregon and the U.S.

  • 20% foreign born concentrations are on the East side. East Portland has both the greatest concentration and the largest population of foreign born people. SE Portland also has a high foreign born population of 17,570.
  • Southwest Portland has the most college graduates at 59%, while East Portland has the least at just under 15%. 20% of the population in North Portland and East Portland do not have a high school diploma.
  • Approximately 6.9 percent of all K-12 students in the U.S. were undocumented or lived with at least one undocumented immigrant parent as recorded in a 2012 study.

Things we can gather from this information:

The areas with the most immigrant/foreign born concentrations are the same areas that have the least college graduates and a high percentage of individuals without a high school diploma. This shows that there is a need for educational support and emphasis in these areas of Portland, especially in the K-12 educational setting as there is a high population of individuals without high school diplomas.

How can we all help?

  • CAUSA: Oregon’s statewide Latino immigrant rights organization. They work to defend and advance immigrant rights by coordinating with local, state, and national coalitions and allies.
  • Donate to organizations and causes that help to support immigrants in the school systems. Here are some Oregon based organizations!
  • Send a letter to your congressman or woman and encourage them to reform our policies on immigration and education.
  • Vote for immigration reform.
  • Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees (SOAR): the mission is to assist refugees in becoming self-sufficient, integrated community members.
  • Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO): mission is to promote the integration of refugees, immigrants, and the community at large into a self-sufficient, healthy, and inclusive multiethnic society.
  • Give your time, volunteer with these organizations.
  • Become a mentor to immigrant/refugee students.
  • Be vocal and spread awareness about immigration and education issues through social media or by having critical conversations with others.

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