UCI News

UCI-led study finds that immigration policies curb affected students’ education, well-being

February 2, 2021
UCI-led study finds that immigration policies curb affected students’ education, well-being
Research led by Laura Enriquez, UCI associate professor of Chicano/Latino studies, compared the experiences of three groups of UC students: undocumented immigrants, U.S. citizens with undocumented parents, and U.S. citizens with parents who are permanent residents or naturalized citizens.

Laura Enriquez, UCI associate professor of Chicano/Latino studies, is lead author of a new report from the UC Collaborative to Promote Immigrant and Student Equity summarizing the results of a study of children of immigrants attending the University of California. Findings indicate that immigration policies disrupt the educational experiences and well-being of not only undocumented students but also those who are U.S. citizens with undocumented parents. Undocumented students and citizens from mixed-status families have more depressive symptoms that warrant clinical treatment, greater financial and legal vulnerability, and higher rates of GPAs below 2.5 than students whose parents have lawful immigration status. All three groups are politically engaged, ranging from 55 to 67 percent. “Our findings call attention to the widespread effects of immigration policies,” Enriquez said. “They bring even more urgency to the need to provide a clear pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants.” Meanwhile, she and her co-authors believe, the UC must build on the success of undocumented student services and expand support to all those impacted. Also participating were researchers from UC Merced, UC Riverside and UCI’s Program in Public Health.