June is Immigrant Heritage Month!
At SchoolHouse Connection, we are proud to celebrate the contributions of immigrants to our country. While their contributions to our country are many, immigrant students and their families often experience homelessness.
In this newsletter, we highlight some of the strategies for supporting immigrant and migrant students experiencing homelessness. First, here is a message from SHC’s Senior Program Manager of Education Initiatives, Karen Rice, on mental health advocacy and immigrant students experiencing homelessness.
Before we dive in, we wanted to provide some important terminologies when talking about immigrant and migrant students.
- Immigrant: A person who moves to a country and plans to stay permanently.
- Migrant: Someone who moves because the student or family are involved in seasonal agricultural or fishing work.
- Refugees: People who have fled their home country due to fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, and are not in the U.S. while they are going through the initial immigration process.
- Asylees: Refugees who are in the U.S. when going through the initial immigration process.
- Parolees: People who receive temporary legal status to enter the U.S. due to urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons. Typically, they are not eligible for the same kinds of services as a refugee.
- Unaccompanied (alien) minors: Youth under age 18 who come to the U.S. without an accompanying parent or guardian. The term “unaccompanied” in this context refers to their immigration status, not their McKinney-Vento status.
- Unaccompanied homeless youth as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act are children and youth who lack fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and are also not under the care of a parent or legal guardian.
Educational Rights of Migrant & Immigrant Students
Many immigrant students and families experience homelessness upon arrival to the United States. Often, they are fleeing violence or natural disasters in other countries. Initially, they may stay with family or acquaintances due to the loss of their housing and/or economic hardship; these living situations typically meet the definition of homelessness in the McKinney-Vento Act. Many families who receive resettlement services upon arrival cannot sustain housing when that support ends in a few weeks or months.
5 Local Educational Agencies Share Strategies to Support Immigrant and Migrant Students Experiencing Homelessness
An increasing number of families and youth are arriving in the U.S. from other countries, many without stable housing. Here are strategies and ideas from local educational agencies (LEAs) in Tennessee, Ohio, Rhode Island, Colorado, and Texas on supporting immigrant, migrant, and undocumented children and youth experiencing homelessness.
How Schools Can Help Immigrant Students
Federal rules on immigrant youth and families can change rapidly, from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Recently, schools are welcoming more immigrant families from all over the world due to violence and natural disasters. This resource provides basic information about eligibility for education services for different immigrant populations, and practical suggestions for schools.
SHC Scholar Featured Contribution to Chalkbeat.org
A first-generation son of immigrants, SHC Scholar Carlos shares how his McKinney-Vento liaison Sabra Emde helped him find stability and resources to support his goals and aspirations.”
– SHC Scholar Carlos Lara-Gonzalez
Organizations and Resources for Immigrant and Migrant Families
- National Immigration Law Center
- Migrant Policy Institute
- Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF)
- UNIDOS US
- Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC)
- Immigration Advocates Network
- Sesame Street In Communities: Supporting Families Resettling in the U.S.
- Colorín Colorado: Guides and Toolkits
- National Immigration Law Center: Basic Facts about In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants