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Immigration crackdowns affect 5 million children




NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06:  A 2nd grade student draws about hopes for her future during an immigration workshop at the Museum of Tolerance on May 6, 2013 in New York City. Some eighty 2nd and 3rd graders, many of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants, participated in the event. The workshop was designed to help children understand the challenges faced by immigrants in their home countries, their often difficult journeys to the United States and the tough adjustment to their new surroundings. It was led by guidance counselor Karina Medina, who just published
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: A 2nd grade student draws about hopes for her future during an immigration workshop at the Museum of Tolerance on May 6, 2013 in New York City. Some eighty 2nd and 3rd graders, many of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants, participated in the event. The workshop was designed to help children understand the challenges faced by immigrants in their home countries, their often difficult journeys to the United States and the tough adjustment to their new surroundings. It was led by guidance counselor Karina Medina, who just published "Old Home New Home" about a child immigrant's experience coming to New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore/Getty Images

Well over 100 people were detained in immigration sweeps across Central and Northern California last week. The Trump administration has stepped up its efforts to deport unauthorized immigrants. 

But those detentions don't always happen in a vacuum. When a person is taken -- especially one with family in the US -- it can disrupt lives, especially those of young people. 

That's the finding of a study from the UCLA Civil Rights Project. It shines new light on how immigration crackdowns affect students in grade school. Lead researcher Patricia Gandara joined Take Two to discuss her findings.

How many young people are connected to the immigration issue

About 5 million kids across the country are in a family in which at least one parent may be undocumented.

Students are feeling terrorized

This has been reported before and it's the reason we wanted to do this study. In various reports, young people -- children -- are being affected by this. We wanted to understand how schools are being affected by this. What we found is that the schools in fact are deeply affected by this, and not only the children of immigrants but other children in the same school. They're distracted, they're stressed, their anxious, they're crying.

Affect on schoolwork

One is that absenteeism is up. Two thirds of our respondents said their absenteeism had increased and more than a third said the problem is serious.

How the research was conducted

We invited 47 school districts across the country to participate; 24 opened their doors and agreed to do the survey, including more than 730 schools in 24 school districts across 12 states in all sectors of the U.S. We were interested in whether there were differences by region. The worst is the South. That appears to be because there's less of a consensus about how to deal with this and many school districts don't have a particular policy and it leaves people wondering.

How to reduce stress in children from immigrant families

Our respondents told us we need to have forums in our communities between the school and the community so the community understands the school is a safe place. Parents are losing faith in the government and even in their schools. A lot of people said parents would no longer sign permission slips for field trips. Anything that required a signature, parents were refusing because they were afraid it would be used against them.