Volume 11

Title I’s Migrant Education Program: The Challenges of Addressing Migrant Students’ Educational Needs in the 21st Century

by José E. Madrid


What social issue can be so controversial and significant enough to partially shut down the federal government for more than a month,1 furlough over 800,000 federal employees,2 and cost the U.S. economy eleven billion dollars?3 Immigration. The President and Congress reached an impasse at the end of 2018 and early 2019, with both political parties squabbling over a border wall aimed at decreasing immigration influxes. Policymakers and the media misguidedly focus their attention on the contentious border wall. In actuality, while there are thousands of immigrants already in the country, new immigrant flows are declining.4 Though some of the immigrants currently in the country are documented or have temporary protection, many do not. Regardless of their status, immigrants provide the country with an invaluable labor supply, such as migrant labors in the agricultural industry.5 Both immigrant and native-born migrant laborers have children who will become part of the country’s citizenry. How policymakers prioritize the education of these children will have a long-term impact on their development and the country’s future.

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1. See Mihir Zaveri, Guilbert Gates & Karen Zraick, The Government Shutdown Was the Longest Here’s the History, N.Y. TIMES (Jan. 25, 2019), https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/09/us/ politics/longest-government-shutdown.html [https://perma.cc/7T28-3275].

2. See Laurel Wamsley, How Is the Shutdown Affecting America?, NPR (Jan. 9, 2019), https://www.npr. org/2019/01/09/683642605/how-is-the-shutdown-affecting-america-let-us-count-the-ways [https://perma. cc/4S9E-H34U].

3. See Ylan Mui, The Government Shutdown Cost the Economy $11 Billion, CNBC (Jan. 28, 2019), https:// cnbc.com/2019/01/28/government-shutdown-cost-the-economy-11-billion-cbo.html [https://perma. cc/SH69-XB96]; see also Cong. Budget Off., The Effects of the Partial Shutdown Ending in January 2019 (Jan. 2019), https://www.cbo.gov/system/files?file=2019-01/54937-PartialShutdownEffects.pdf [https:// perma.cc/T8CU-86VD].

4. See, g., Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 2015-2016 Research Report No. 13., U.S. DEP’T. OF LABOR, i (2018) [hereinafter NAWS] (“On average, foreign-born farmworkers . . . first came to the United States 18 years before being interviewed. The vast majority of respondents had been in the United States at least 10 years (78%), with more than half arriving at least 15 years prior. ”). The newly arrived immigrants represent a smaller percentage of immigrants compared to those residing in the country for a number of consecutive years. See id. at 3. “Farmworkers who first arrived in the United States in the year predating their interview comprised 3 percent of workers interviewed in 2015–2016.” Id.

5. See id. at 1, (“Nearly 7 in 10 hired farmworkers were born in Mexico.”).