Immigration Enforcement and Student Achievement in the Wake of Secure Communities


Laura Bellows

Year of Publication: 

Over the past decade, U.S. immigration enforcement policies have increasingly targeted unauthorized immigrants residing in the U.S. interior, many of whom are the parents of U.S.-citizen children. Heightened immigration enforcement may affect student achievement through stress, income effects, or student mobility. I use one immigration enforcement policy, Secure Communities, to examine this relationship. I use the staggered activation of Secure Communities across counties to measure its relationship with average achievement for Hispanic students, as well as non-Hispanic black and white students. I find that the activation of Secure Communities was associated with decreases in average achievement for Hispanic students in English Language Arts (ELA), as well as black students in ELA and math. Similarly, I find that increases in removals are associated with decreases in achievement for Hispanic and black students. I note that the timing of rollout is potentially correlated with other county trends affecting results.