02/25/2023 - Harvard EdCast: What Do Immigrant Students Need? It Isn’t Just ELL

Educators need to do more to address the basic social-emotional needs of immigrant children if they are to advance in learning, says Professor Carola Suárez-Orozco. She is the director of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard, where she’s focused on the practices that can change immigrant children’s lives in the classroom.

Immigrant children make up 27% of student population in the United States, face many challenges, and also have many strengths and resiliences. However, those qualities often go unnoticed in the quest to learn English. “You have to address the social-emotional needs, and immigrant-origin kids have a number of them that a lot of educators are oblivious to. That’s my mission, is for educators to have a better sense of the whole child, to realize that there are a lot of challenges. There are also a lot of strengths and resiliencies,” Suárez-Orozco says. “They just have to have a better understanding of who these kids are. And most educational systems don’t address — most education schools don’t address this as part of education.”

In this episode, she talks about the value of understanding the whole immigrant child and how to incorporate their personal stories into the classroom. To listen to the episode click here

- Making Schools a Welcoming Place for Immigrant Students: How educators can help newcomers in the classroom

Children from immigrant homes make up more than a quarter of the child population in the U.S. and are the fastest growing segment of school-age students, but many are invisible and unrecognized — schools don’t typically have a real sense of their presence or their potential according to Carola Suárez-Orozco, the director of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard.

If immigrant-origin children — meaning those who are foreign born or have at least one parent who was born abroad — are considered at all, they are typically thought of as English language learners. While learning English is important, Suárez-Orozco says it is a “very reductive way of thinking about the immigrant child experience.” She believes that much more needs to be understood to help newcomers integrate, and Suárez-Orozco shared her advice for ways that educators can begin the process.

To learn more about how schools can lend a helping hand to immigrant children click here


10/16/2022 - Challenges that young immigrants face with U.S. public schools

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Professor Sophia Rodriguez calls it out for the realities on the ground for unaccompanied minors in schools in a new Washington Post Op Ed!


- Jóvenes latinos viajan más lejos y a más lugares en busca de trabajo

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This news article informs that young latinx individuals travel long distances to access work opportunities, sometimes even migrate constantly across states to secure an available work position. “Moving in search of better opportunities is perhaps more within the cultural and behavioral repertoire of these young adults than of those whose families have more distant migratory experiences,” says Professor Suárez-Orozco.

- What Barring Immigrant Students from School Would Mean for Them — & the Country

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Suárez-Orozco: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s challenge to Plyler vs. Doe would harm not just millions of children, but all of us.

- Suárez-Orozco to Lead Immigration Initiative at Harvard

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Carola Suárez-Orozco is set to lead the Immigration Initiative at Harvard as its newest director, a role she will assume on July 1 in addition to joining the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

- Carola Suarez-Orozco to join HGSE Faculty


She will begin her appointment as professor in residence on July 1, 2022, and will head the Immigration Initiative at Harvard

- New Report Explores Innovation of Educators in Immigrant-Serving Districts

Read more from the Harvard Graduate School of Education

A new policy report released yesterday by the Immigration Initiative at Harvard (IIH) with the PIECE (Putting Immigration and Education in Conversation Everyday) research collaborative reports cutting-edge findings on how six immigrant-serving school districts are adapting and connecting with communities in the face of COVID-19 pandemic and school closures. It includes case studies and quotes from educators on the front line. The report is the fifth piece of research to be released as part of IIH’s Research Series, an ongoing initiative to disseminate rigorous, non-partisan, and non-ideological research on immigration issues across a broad range of disciplines and perspectives.

“When the pandemic hit, we felt a sense of urgency to respond to the inequalities that were laid bare and exacerbated by the crisis,” says Rebecca Lowenhaupt, associate professor of educational leadership at Boston College, co-author of the report, and founding member and principal investigator of the present study. “At the same time, we were inspired by the innovative responses of our district partners, who demonstrated commitment and creativity in supporting immigrant students during school closures this Spring. As districts prepare for the uncertainty of the new school year, we wanted to share immediate insights from our conversations with the hope it might help other immigrant-serving districts grappling with similar dilemmas.”

- Jacqueline Bhabha: Supreme Court’s ‘Dreamers’ decision just a first step

Read Professor Bhabha's full opinion in the Financial Times

IIH Executive Committee member Jacqueline Bhabha writes on the Supreme Court’s DACA decision for the Financial Times:

Since September 2017, the “Dreamers” who had benefited from Daca have been living on a knife’s edge.

Thousands of the Daca-mented have suffered from crushing anxiety because of the insecurities associated with their status; some at Harvard have sought medical help for mental illness. Our students report that crucial days for the legal case have been preceded by sleepless nights of foreboding. Last week’s ruling brought this terrifying limbo to an end.

For now, the Daca-mented can continue to work, study, live with their families and lead their lives free from imminent deportation. But they are not out of the woods. Only legislation can convert the discretionary suspension of deportation into a permanent legal status leading to citizenship. That, like so much else in the US, depends on the November election.

- Jacqueline Bhabha: Europe shows a Janus face to migrants

Read Professor Bhabha's full opinion in the Financial Times

IIH Executive Committee member Jacqueline Bhabha writes on EU immigration for the Financial Times:

There is still a refugee crisis in Europe: a crisis of protection, of care, and of social inclusion.

Today, neither Greece nor the EU have the resources or the political will of [Germany’s] initial refugee response.

Refugees in Greece “confront the withering consequences of Europe’s diminishing sense of compassion through the evictions, destitution, despair and growing xenophobia that they must face every day. How long until fellow Europeans realize that this crisis, on its own doorstep, is their crisis too?

- Gonzales to the New York Times: DACA is “the most successful immigration policy in recent decade”

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- Announcing the Immigration Initiative at Harvard

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A new university-wide effort, launched with support from HGSE, aims to spur research, policy, and action on immigration.