Monday, October 23, 2017

John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup by Masha Gessen

Buenos días, good morning.  Happy Monday!  The "language of the military coup" should concern all Americans.  Here's an apt summative quote:

When Kelly replaced the ineffectual Reince Priebus as the chief of staff, a sigh of relief emerged: at least the general would impose some discipline on the Administration. Now we have a sense of what military discipline in the White House sounds like.

I post this in the interest of us all having our eyes wide open....

-Angela 

 

John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup

When he talks about “the best” Americans, John Kelly means dead Americans—specifically, fallen soldiers.
Photograph by Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty
Consider this nightmare scenario: a military coup. You don’t have to strain your imagination—all you have to do is watch Thursday’s White House press briefing, in which the chief of staff, John Kelly, defended President Trump’s phone call to a military widow, Myeshia Johnson. The press briefing could serve as a preview of what a military coup in this country would look like, for it was in the logic of such a coup that Kelly advanced his four arguments.

Argument 1. Those who criticize the President don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t served in the military. To demonstrate how little lay people know, Kelly provided a long, detailed explanation of what happens when a soldier is killed in battle: the body is wrapped in whatever is handy, flown by helicopter, then packed in ice, then flown again, then repacked, then flown, then embalmed and dressed in uniform with medals, and then flown home. Kelly provided a similar amount of detail about how family members are notified of the death, when, and by whom. He even recommended a film that dramatized the process of transporting the body of a real-life marine, Private First Class Chance Phelps. This was a Trumpian moment, from the phrasing—“a very, very good movie”—to the message. Kelly stressed that Phelps “was killed under my command, right next to me”; in other words, Kelly’s real-life experience was recreated for television, and that, he seemed to think, bolstered his authority.

Fallen soldiers, Kelly said, join “the best one per cent this country produces.” Here, the chief of staff again reminded his audience of its ignorance: “Most of you, as Americans, don’t know them. Many of you don’t know anyone who knows any of them. But they are the very best this country produces.”
The one-per-cent figure is puzzling. The number of people currently serving in the military, both on active duty and in the reserves, is not even one per cent of all Americans. The number of veterans in the population is far higher: more than seven per cent. But, later in the speech, when Kelly described his own distress after hearing the criticism of Trump’s phone call, the general said that he had gone to “walk among the finest men and women on this earth. And you can always find them because they’re in Arlington National Cemetery.” So, by “the best” Americans, Kelly had meant dead Americans—specifically, fallen soldiers.

The number of Americans killed in all the wars this nation has ever fought is indeed equal to roughly one per cent of all Americans alive today. This makes for questionable math and disturbing logic. It is in totalitarian societies, which demand complete mobilization, that dying for one’s country becomes the ultimate badge of honor. Growing up in the Soviet Union, I learned the names of ordinary soldiers who threw their bodies onto enemy tanks, becoming literal cannon fodder. All of us children had to aspire to the feat of martyrdom. No Soviet general would have dared utter the kind of statement that’s attributed to General George S. Patton: “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

2. The President did the right thing because he did exactly what his general told him to do. Kelly went on a rambling explication of speaking to the President not once but twice about how to make the call to Myeshia Johnson. After Kelly’s son was killed while serving in Afghanistan, the chief of staff recalled, his own best friend had consoled him by saying that his son “was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that one per cent.” Trump apparently tried to replicate this message when he told Johnson that her husband, La David, had known what he was signing up for. The negative reaction to this comment, Kelly said, had “stunned” him.

A week earlier, Kelly had taken over the White House press briefing in an attempt to quash another scandal and ended up using the phrase “I was sent in,” twice, in reference to his job in the White House. Now he seemed to be saying that, since he was sent in to control the President and the President had, this time, more or less carried out his instructions, the President should not be criticized.

3. Communication between the President and a military widow is no one’s business but theirs. A day earlier, the Washington Post had quoted a White House official saying, “The president’s conversations with the families of American heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private.” The statement contained a classic Trumpian reversal: the President was claiming for himself the right to privacy that belonged to his interlocutor. But Myeshia Johnson had apparently voluntarily shared her conversation with her mother-in-law and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson by putting the President on speakerphone.

Now Kelly took it up a notch. Not only was he claiming that the President, communicating with a citizen in his official capacity, had a right to confidentiality—he was claiming that this right was “sacred.” Indeed, Kelly seemed to say, it was the last sacred thing in this country. He rattled off a litany of things that had lost their sanctity: women, life, religion, Gold Star families. The last of which had been profaned “in the convention over the summer,” said Kelly, although the debacle with a Gold Star family had been Trump’s doing. Now, Kelly seemed to say, we had descended into utter profanity, because the secrecy of the President’s phone call had been violated.

4. Citizens are ranked based on their proximity to dying for their country. Kelly’s last argument was his most striking. At the end of the briefing, he said that he would take questions only from those members of the press who had a personal connection to a fallen soldier, followed by those who knew a Gold Star family. Considering that, a few minutes earlier, Kelly had said most Americans didn’t even know anyone who knew anyone who belonged to the “one per cent,” he was now explicitly denying a majority of Americans—or the journalists representing them—the right to ask questions. This was a new twist on the Trump Administration’s technique of shunning and shaming unfriendly members of the news media, except this time, it was framed explicitly in terms of national loyalty. As if on cue, the first reporter allowed to speak inserted the phrase “Semper Fi”—a literal loyalty oath—into his question.

Before walking off the stage, Kelly told Americans who haven’t served in the military that he pities them. “We don’t look down upon those of you who haven’t served,” he said. “In fact, in a way we are a little bit sorry because you’ll have never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kinds of things our servicemen and women do—not for any other reason than that they love this country.”

When Kelly replaced the ineffectual Reince Priebus as the chief of staff, a sigh of relief emerged: at least the general would impose some discipline on the Administration. Now we have a sense of what military discipline in the White House sounds like.

A previous version of this post misstated the timing of a political-convention controversy as it related to Gold Star families.
Masha Gessen, a staff writer, has written several books, including, most recently, “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” which was short-listed for the National Book Award in 2017.



2. T

Friday, October 20, 2017

Rebuild Puerto Rico! by Dr. Edwin Melendez


I personally know and fully trust and respect Dr. Edwin Melendez, a professor at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at City University of New York, Hunter College. Here, Dr. Melendez is announcing an online web source Rebuild Puerto Rico for news, donation information, volunteer opportunities, events, policy, and help or assistance of multiple kinds that folks may have.

A recommendation that I heard about the other evening at UT in a symposium on the crisis in Puerto Rico is to send chlorine tablets instead of water bottles.  Bottled water takes up a lot of space on any kind of craft for transporting goods and is impractical over the long haul. Chlorine tablets are more efficient and can be used for purifying drinking water.

I also just learned the other evening about LifeStraws which filter out waterborne bacteria that make pretty much any kind of water safe to drink.  One LifeStraw is supposed to be able to sustain one person for a year.  I saw them priced at around $20.00 on Amazon.com. The advertising video is pretty disgusting, but they make their point.  Here's another video that's also helpful.


There's also a Facebook page that is raising funds for LifeStraws for Puerto Rico that you can link to here.


So check out the Rebuild Puerto Rico and among other things that we can and should be doing like making donations and addressing pertinent policy issues, let's find ways to send both chlorine tablets and LifeStraws to Puerto Rico.
 

Angela Valenzuela
c/s

Rebuild Puerto Rico!





by Dr. Edwin Melendez

October 1, 2017

The destruction caused by Hurricane Maria has never being seen before in Puerto Rico. The priority for everyone now, especially for first responders on the ground, is to save lives. However, recovery is estimated to take years.
In an effort to support disaster relief and recovery efforts, Centro has launched Rebuild Puerto Rico, an online information clearinghouse for the stateside Puerto Rican community and other allies. A Rebuild Puerto Rico newsletter highlighting new content on the online platform will be issued weekly and as needed.
Coping with devastating flooding, contaminated waters, and public health takes precedence. The electrical and communications infrastructure on the island has crumbled, and it may take months to restore power and to be able communicate with our loved ones. We know that they need food, water, generators, medicines, diapers, school supplies, and so much more. And very soon stateside Puerto Rican communities will receive a wave of migrants from the island that will need shelter and support.   
The question that many ask is “What can we do?” The response to the destruction and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico has been heartening and many support events, fundraising campaigns and other initiatives are under way. But there is so much more to do.
Rebuild Puerto Rico is a collaborative effort. The Hunter College and Centro leadership are coordinating with the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, federal and stateside local elected officials, community leaders and organizations, and others to create an information hub, a clearinghouse where the Puerto Rican diaspora and others interested in supporting Puerto Rico can share information about recent events, solidarity events, policy issues affecting decision makers, call to action for donations and volunteers, help assistance, and other relevant information about the crisis.
Rebuild Puerto Rico will be staffed by volunteers across the nation. They will collect the necessary information for this platform to be effective. Centro has made a call for individuals and organizations that want to help Puerto Rico, not just in the emergency phase, but also in recovery and reconstruction. We need volunteers with skills in collecting and managing information, writing policy briefs, and helping with outreach and partnership.
Rebuild Puerto Rico is an extension of the work that Centro has been conducting for more than forty years, especially since the unfolding of the fiscal and economic crisis in Puerto Rico in 2015. Centro has served as a national convener and source of information to stateside communities. Our conferences and events provide a safe space to discuss difficult policy and political issues where participants acknowledge differences in perspectives yet seek to find common ground moving forward.
Rebuild Puerto Rico is created in the spirit of collaboration and collective action to solve the challenges for 9 million people, one people on the island and in the diaspora. We agree wholeheartedly with the New York Times editorial when they conclude:
Maria leaves a whole new level of recovery to be scaled. No one has yet estimated the full cost. Federal money will be the most critical factor, in the view of recovery specialists. They dare to hope the sweep of the hurricane’s destruction may provide a theoretical, if bleak, spark for long overdue modernization on the island. All Americans should rally forcefully behind their fellow citizens left suffering on the island as it labors to recover. It is up to mainland leaders not to stint on aid for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, however lacking they may be in political clout in Washington.
More than ever, the Puerto Rican diaspora must play an important role, no longer just with the ongoing humanitarian crisis on the island and disaster relief for the American citizens of Puerto Rico, but we also need to assist the thousands of people who are relocating to stateside communities.
This first issue of the Rebuild Puerto Rico newsletter includes two essays from Centro staff on current events and policy developments.
In “The Diaspora Helps Rebuild Puerto Rico,” Victor Martinez writes how the Puerto Rican diaspora has united and demonstrated its great sense of community in response to the loss of lives and the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. Since the very beginning of this crisis, the diaspora has moved to help with supply drives, fundraisers, and the coordination of other events to help the island. As many members of the diaspora have said through social media: “I am here, but my heart is in Puerto Rico.”
In “Disaster Aid for Puerto Rico: Congressional Actions,” Kathya Severino Pietri summarizes recent developments undertaken by the federal government disaster relief efforts on the island. Many have expressed concerns that federal efforts have been insufficient in light of the severity of the crisis. Hurricane Maria caused billions of dollars in damages to Puerto Rico and left 3.6 million island residents without power, potable water, and telecommunications. The situation has quickly evolved into a humanitarian crisis.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Como la Flor," sung by Luz Zamora

So I'm not just a professor or blogger.  I'm also a shameless stage Mom.  So proud of our daughter, Luz Zamora, who’s poised to shine brilliantly in the music world. 

Her words from yesterday's Youtube post:

“Here is a video of me singing Como la Flor as made popular by Selena
Quintanilla. I used this recording as a pre-screening for a Commercial
Music degree audition. I had so much fun recording this and I hope y'all
will enjoy it too. Have a wonderful Monday"
The song was written by Selena's brother, A.B. Quintanilla III.  Luz is in her final year in musical performance opera at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and this video is for her next move in life and career. 

Your Dad and I are so very proud of you, Luz Zamora! ❤️

Mami


Friday, October 13, 2017

The Activist Work of K-12 Educators: Then and Now

Happy to share this publication by Education Policy and Planning Student, Andrene Castro.  It considers the very important role of African American K-12 educator activism historically and its meaningfulness and importance for us today.  It is a reminder that Ethnic Studies and educator activism tend to go hand-in-hand historically.

Angela Valenzuela

The Activist Work of K-12 Educators: Then and Now

Black students’ educational needs are central to Black political and social activism. It is no secret that Black activism in institutions of higher education, particularly during the tumultuous decades from the 1950s through the 1970s, catalyzed new freedom struggles and enhanced the intellectual development of African Diaspora Studies in educational spaces. Yet, the activism of K-12 educators in public schools receives too little attention. While some education scholars have documented Black teachers’ activism since the late eighteenth century, public school teachers deserve broader recognition within Black activism historiography.
From the late nineteenth century through the present, parallel movements shaped teachers’ activism: the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling to desegregate schools, Civil Rights and Black Power struggles, and the burgeoning women’s movement. Against this backdrop, Black teachers served as recruiting agents for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Civil Rights movement. They also called for schools to uphold the promises of desegregation, actually integrating schools and reforming school finance through more equitable allocation of resources.
Inspired by the campus movements of the sixties, the collective efforts of K-12 educators, students, and parents at Berkeley High School, for example, led to the development of the first Black Studies department in 1969. Despite this early move to diversify the K-12 curriculum, its legacy remains in flux. Today, many teachers are front-line activists fighting for the constitutionality of African American history and ethnic studies courses in public schools. And still intellectual activism and activist scholarship is often misperceived as a project only for academics, though Black teachers in K-12 settings have long embraced these pursuits. In fact, several scholars point to a strong lineage of sociopolitical activism in education. This scholarship highlights vanguards such as Anna Julia Cooper, Carter G. Woodson, Alain LeRoy Locke, and Sylvia Wynter—Black intellectuals who receive too little credit for advancing curricular theory.
Dunbar High School, Washington DC in 1917. Photo: The Crisis, March 1917, page 221
Anna Julia Cooper’s work as a teacher, leader, and innovator at M Street High School, later known as Dunbar High School in Washington, DC, encouraged Black educators to view their role not only as teachers, but also as intellectuals. Cooper’s contribution to M Street helped establish the school as a premier educational institution, boasting notable faculty and alumnae. Omissions of teachers’ intellectual activism are particularly damaging to Black educators who—without these role models—fail to recognize the broader contributions of Black scholars and educators in the social and political history of schooling in the US.
As the largest professional occupation in the US, teaching accounts for the most professional employees among college-educated white women, Black women, and Black men. While the profession is well received, most teachers receive too little credit for their efforts. Critical education scholars challenge the notion that teaching is an apolitical enterprise. Scholars such as Paulo Freire and Gloria Ladson-Billings argue that teaching is in itself a political act because education is inherently political.
Beyond this conceptualization, the teacher-as-activist is also an identity and a consciousness one comes to assume, characterized by explicit social and political orientations against racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and classism. For Bob Moses, an educator and Civil Rights leader, his vision for economic and political freedom connects intricately with education: “When I was in Mississippi [in the 1960s], I saw very graphically how literacy mattered. Sharecroppers weren’t literate, so they were outside the economic arrangement. That’s what’s happening now in the inner cities. We’re growing young people who are outside the economic arrangements for the information-age technologies.”
Despite the commitment that teachers make to educate children, not all teachers are activists. Understanding when and where teachers enter activism begins with recognizing that public schools are social institutions rife with contradictions. As critical sites for socialization, schools reify dominant perspectives of anti-blackness, heteropatriarchy, Eurocentrism, and religiosity, often while providing a public good of “assimilationist” democracy.
A prominent example of this tension emerges from the historical and legal scholarship on school segregation and its impact on the teacher labor market. For example, teacher activists and researchers recounting teacher segregation in Chicago highlight discriminatory labor policies that subjected Black teachers to be newly classified as Full Time Basis Substitutes (FTBs). Despite doing the same work, this distinction amounted to different wages and benefits than white teachers received. Over the course of two years in 1967 and 1968, an organization called Concerned FTBs led more than a hundred schools in a strike against institutional and procedural racism and school segregation.
These histories reveal how societal tensions give rise to Black teacher activism. Even contemporary movements, such as Black Lives Matter, illustrate symbiotic relationships amongst movements, activism, and education. The Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of organizations demanding an end to state-sanctioned violence, considers public schooling a form of the state’s violent apparatus. With numerous policy initiatives addressing federal, state, and local inequities in school funding, excessive discipline and policing in schools, and the neo-liberalization of public schools—teacher activism is inevitable.
Civil Rights leader and education reformer Bob Moses at the Meridian Freedom School Convention, 1964 (Mark Levy Collection, Queens College Civil Rights Archives)
As a result of neoliberalism’s assault on Black youth and educators (i.e., closed schools, loss of Black anchor institutions, as well as the displacement of Black teachers), teachers have grown increasingly politicized. In May 2016 more than 1,500 teachers called in sick at 94 of Detroit’s 97 public schools. Similar activities repeated across the country in school districts in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. These massive protests or “sickouts” targeted many of the same practices waged in the aftermath of the 1954 ruling.
Beyond public demonstrations, forms of Black teacher activism consistently take shape inside the classroom through teaching and learning. These acts generally remain unnoticed and seldom catalyze the masses. However, many teachers express their activism through pedagogy, whereby texts become tactics. In this view, teaching-as-activism is indispensable to Black intellectual and activist scholarship. Teacher activists critique power, encourage intellectual curiosity, deepen self-identity and consciousness, and strive to make history culturally relevant for students.
Nevertheless, positioning teacher activism in this broader canon requires a degree of rupture. We must first acknowledge the traditions of teacher activism that enabled Black teachers, especially Black women, to “uplift the race, develop the community, gain for it the more equitable place in society it deserved, while creating for themselves important positions of leadership.” Second, we must recognize that teaching in schools does indeed “constitute legitimate and necessary forms of activist strategies.” This reconceptualization of activism parallels Black youths’ new age activism in the twenty-first century. At a time when there is a dire need to recruit and retain more teachers of color in the workforce, recognizing the activist work of K-12 educators is vital.

Andrene Castro

Andrene Jones Castro is a PhD student in Educational Policy and Planning with a concentration in African & African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research primarily explores the cultural politics of race and gender in teacher labor markets, education policies, and the intersections of schools and communities. Follow her on Twitter @followurdrene.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

So honored to be the recipient of the 2017 Latina Legend Habla Con Orgullo Award this Evening

Heartfelt thanks to Paul Saldaña, Dr. Nora Comstock, and friends for such a wonderful evening at the 2017 Habla Con Orgullo Awards Ceremony. Praise to all the nominees and winners because the incredible roster of outstanding individuals and organizations shows just how strong we truly are as a Latinx advocacy community here in Austin, Texas (see details below).  Watch out, world!  :-)

Speaking on behalf of those of us in Nuestro Grupo and Academia Cuauhtli, I'm deeply humbled by the recognition that I/we received this evening even as we are mindful of the countless numbers of those spearheading the cause for Ethnic Studies throughout the state of Texas as a whole.  This is indeed an invigorating movement that is grounded in a deep and historic struggle for curricular inclusion and respect.

It is such an honor and privilege to labor in the service of our community which is so incredibly hard-working, talented, and committed to the creation of a more just world, frequently facing head on the harsh, political winds and ominous darkness that threaten to engulf.  


It is so encouraging to be a ray of hope, courage, and kindness for, and to, one another.  It is equally beautiful to reinforce relations, build trust, and deepen friendships through opportunities like these.

Thanks to all for their faith in us as we continue forward to both educate and liberate our children and ourselves in Austin, Texas! 

Here are a few photos from this evening below.  

Muchísimas gracias!

Angela Valenzuela
c/s 


 from Paul Saldaña--
 CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2017 HABLA CON ORGULLO AWARD NOMINEES & WINNERS TONIGHT!

Latino/a Community Leader – Demonstrated and proven leadership, advocacy, and action on behalf of Austin’s Latino community
- Jessica Robledo, Police Chief, City of Pflugerville
- Jill Ramirez, Chair, HQLI
- Vanessa Santamaría Dainton, KLRU Educational Services/First President Austin Council of PTAs, Advocate for Bilingual Education & Latino/Immigrant Families
- Zenén Jaimes Perez, Austin Commission for Immigrant Affairs/ TCRP
- Paula Rojas (Mama Sana)
WINNER - Denise D. Hernandez, Hustle for the Cause

Latino Community Organization – Outstanding organization, advocating, serving the needs, and/or making a positive impact on our Austin Latino community
- La Voz de Austin, monthly Hispanic/Latino publication focused on Latino news and quality of life issues
- Latinitas, a non-profit organization focused on informing, entertaining, and inspiring young Latinas to grow into healthy, confident, and successful Latinas. Our mission is to empower Latina youth through media and technology
- Latino Healthcare Forum, organization that provides vulnerable populations access to comprehensive, culturally competent, and quality primary healthcare services.
- Youth Rise Texas, Youth Rise Texas is an Austin, Texas based organization, largely comprised of young women and queer youth of color, who have been impacted by the incarceration or deportation of a parent or caregiver.
WINNER - Con Mi Madre, supporting Mothers/Daughters: Strengthen, Education, Support & Succeed, Young Latinas and their mothers enroll into Con Mi MADRE together and are offered an array of services including: mother-daughter conferences, college visits, campus meetings, community service activities, counseling, and mentoring throughout the year.

Latino Campaign/Cause – Outstanding advocacy initiative or cause during the last year having an impact on our Austin Latino community
- Jolt, Texas Based multi-issue org building political power & influence of Latinos in Democracy
- Sabados en Familia, provides free Cultural Art Activities for the Family at the Mexican American Cultural Center
WINNER - Save East Austin Schools (SEAS) Political Action Committee (PAC), grassroots East Austin Organization advocating for educational equity in AISD Bonds

Latino/a Legend – Has made a significant impact to our Latino community and exemplifies Legado, Liderazgo y Latinidad improving our overall Latino quality of life in Austin
Frank Rodriguez, Susana Almanza & Me

- Frank Rodriguez, Senior Policy Advisory, Mayor’s Office, Health & Human Services, Equity, & Latino Quality of Life issues
- Gloria Espitia, Retired Historian Austin History Center, Marketing Representative, ESB-MACC
- Susana Almanza, Co-Founder and Executive Director of PODER
- Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, UT School of Journalism/KUT, VOCES Oral History Project
WINNER - Dr. Angela Valenzuela, University of Texas Professor, Advocacy and Activism in Bilingual Education, Mexican American Studies/Ethnic Studies, and Academia Cuauhtli



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

In 5 Years, Dallas ISD Has Opened 20 Drop-In Centers For Homeless Students; More Needed


In 2014, the child poverty rate in Dallas was nearly 38%. In 2016 that number had dropped to 30.6%. While that number remains high relative to other large cities, it shows improvement (Dallas Poverty Rate). This drop may be a result of continuing gentrification taking place in Texas' cities as demands for new housing that meets the expectations of white collar newcomers to Texas increases where more affordable housing once stood.

One particularly bright spot in Dallas is Dallas ISD's effort to support its homeless students. In the last five years, Dallas ISD has gone from one homeless student drop-in center to 20. Student homelessness results from a number of factors that include poverty, issues at home, and in extreme cases the deportation of parents.

Dallas ISD plans to open five more drop-in centers by January 2018.
This article describes the great work taking place in Dallas ISD to help students in critical need  (Dallas ISD Drop-In Centers).


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Mexican American Selena: It can be exhausting to be Mexican American




A student of mine in my Race & Ethnic Relations class this evening shared this scene from the movie, "Selena."  I must have seen this last when the movie first came out 20 years ago in 1997, starring Jennifer López.

After viewing it, I said, "This short segment is what totally made this movie for me." 

It conveys the difficulties of being Mexican and American, marginal in two worlds.

Movies and stories like this that express our truths are liberating, to say the least.

This one segment should find its way into every Ethnic Studies classroom in the nation.

We should also demand for bilingual education as a new default in public education—less because our languages are a resource and more because they are our right—a right that aligns to our original claim to the lands where we currently live—and from which our ancestors never departed—as Mexican Americans in the U.S.


Peace/Paz,


Angela Valenzuela

c/s


One Quarter of Hispanic Children in the United States Have an Unauthorized Immigrant Parent

How we as Hispanics feel toward DACA and immigration reform, generally, isn't simply an ideology.  It's a lived experience, a reality that touches so many of our lives as this piece by the National Research center on Hispanic Children & Families reveals.

One Quarter of Hispanic Children in the United States Have an Unauthorized Immigrant Parent

Publication number: 2017-28
Author(s): Wyatt Clarke; Kimberly Turner; Lina Guzman
Publication date: Oct 2017
Doc type: Brief

Overview

Today, 18 million Hispanica children live in the United States, and they account for one quarter of all children.1,2 An overwhelming majority (94 percent) of Latino children were born in the United States.3 However, that is not the case for their parents. In fact, about half of Latino children have at least one parent who was born in another country,4 some of whom are not authorized to live in the United States. As the nation continues to engage in crucial discourse over the future of immigration policy, it is important to acknowledge the extent to which these policies will affect the well-being of the vast number of children whose parents may be at risk of deportation.
In this brief, we draw on publicly available information from several data sources to estimate the proportion of U.S. Latino children who have at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant. Our conclusion: about one quarter—25 to 28 percent—of all Latino children in the United States have an unauthorized immigrant parent. This translates to more than 4 million Hispanic children—a finding consistent across each data source and the three different approaches we used to create the estimate. In short, about 1 in 4 of America’s Hispanic children are at risk for experiencing the stresses associated with having a parent who is an unauthorized immigrant. (Throughout this brief, we use the term unauthorized immigrant parents to describe parents who lack legal status to live in the country.)
Why focus on Latino children in our estimate of children with an unauthorized immigrant parent? Two reasons stand out:
• First, although immigration from Latin Americab (especially from Mexico) has declined substantially in recent years,5 the majority of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States come from Latin American countries.6,7 This means that any changes in immigration policies and enforcement will have a disproportionate impact on the Latino community.8-10
• Second, Hispanics are the largest and one of the fastest-growing racial/ethnic minority groups among children in the United States.11-13 They also represent a growing segment of the nation’s future workforce.14 If present trends continue, by 2060 nearly one third of the nation’s workforce will be Latino.15,16 How Latino children fare will be critical to our nation’s social and economic development.

Why the number matters

Latino children with immigrant parents—even those who are unauthorized immigrants—have many strengths. For example, Hispanic children with one or more immigrant parent, including those who are poor, are more likely than Latino children with only U.S.-born parents to be in a two-parent family with at least one working adult.17,18 Additionally, recent estimates indicate that 72 percent of the unauthorized immigrant population is in the labor force, meaning there is often an employed adult in the household.6 These family structures promote healthy child development and adult well-being.19,20
Still, research suggests that the challenges associated with having an unauthorized immigrant parent are linked to a wide range of adverse developmental and educational experiences,21 primarily brought about by poverty.22,23 Children living with unauthorized immigrant parents are disproportionately poor.24 About three quarters have families with incomes that fall at or near poverty.24 Out of fear of drawing attention to their immigration status, their parents may not access public assistance programs designed to meet the needs of vulnerable children.25-28
Research also tells us that safe, secure, and stable attachments to parents and caregivers are critical for children’s healthy development.29-32 Children with an unauthorized immigrant parent, who face the possibility of separation from their parents, are at risk of experiencing stress and anxiety based on that fear or reality.23,33,34 This kind of uncertainty, stress, and trauma can threaten children’s well-being, affecting their brain development, physical health, and more.35-38 Additionally, should large numbers of parents be deported, states may be faced with placing their children in foster care, a public system that in most states is already overextended.
Children with at least one unauthorized immigrant parent may also be at risk of experiencing cognitive delays, struggles in school, and depression or anxiety.21-23,33,39-42 Despite these challenges, prospects for children with an unauthorized immigrant parent may still be better than they would have been if their parents had never come to the United States. Many unauthorized parents come from countries with social upheaval or economic distress.43

Getting to the number

Methodology

Here are details about the three approaches and multiple sources we used to uncover the proportion of Hispanic children who have an unauthorized immigrant parent. We used several approaches and sources in order to confer confidence in the estimate, which we found to be consistent across all approaches.

Approach 1: Combining estimates from the Pew Research Center and the Current Population Survey

Our first approach builds upon existing estimates from the Pew Research Center. Specifically, Pew Research Center estimated that overall, 5.5 million children under the age of 18 in the United States in 2010 had an unauthorized immigrant parent. Of these children, 87 percent had parents who were born in Latin America.44 Taken together, these two estimates (i.e., 5.5 million * .87) indicate that 4.8 million Hispanic children had a parent who was an unauthorized immigrant in 2010.
According to the 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS), there were 17.1 million Hispanic children under age 18 in the United States in 2010.45 Dividing the number of Hispanic children with a parent who was an unauthorized immigrant by the overall number of Hispanic children (4.8 million/17.1 million) indicates that approximately 28 percent of all Hispanic children in the United States had an unauthorized immigrant parent in 2010.

Approach 2: Linking information from the Department of Homeland Security and the American Community Survey

Our second approach links statistical information derived from a Department of Homeland  Security (DHS) report and from the American Community Survey (ACS). According to the DHS report, 9.6 million unauthorized immigrants from Latin America lived in the United States in 2012.46 ACS estimates indicate that 21.3 million Latin American immigrants lived in the nation that same year.3 Together, these numbers suggest that 45 percent of Latin American immigrants (9.6 million /21.3 million) were unauthorized in 2012.c
Using the 2012 ACS, we estimated that approximately 55 percent of Hispanic children living in the nation in 2012 had at least one immigrant parent.48,49 The proportion of Hispanic immigrants who are unauthorized and the proportion of Hispanic children with immigrant parents are related, but not directly comparable. However, if we make some assumptions about the family formation patterns and ethnic classification of immigrants, this information provides insight into the prevalence of Hispanic children with an unauthorized parent. We applied the following assumptions to calculate a conservative estimate:
• Unauthorized immigrants have the same number of children per person as do other immigrants.d
• Unauthorized immigrants from Latin America only have children with unauthorized immigrants from Latin America.
• Children of immigrants are counted by the Census as Hispanic if and only if their parents come from Latin America.
These assumptions imply a 1-to-1 correspondence between the proportion of immigrants from Latin America who were unauthorized and the proportion of Hispanic children of immigrants who had an unauthorized parent. Given these assumptions, along with estimates of the proportion of Hispanic immigrants who were unauthorized (45 percent) and the proportion of Hispanic children with an immigrant parent (55 percent), we found that 25 percent of Hispanic children had an unauthorized immigrant parent (.45 * .55) in 2012, translating to roughly 4.3 million Hispanic children (.25 * 17.5 million, the number of Hispanic children estimated in the ACS in 2012).
We tailored this same approach to focus on U.S.-born Hispanic children, as well as to provide country-ofheritage-specific estimates. Using the 2012 ACS, we found that 52 percent of U.S.-born Hispanic children had an immigrant parent—compared with 55 percent for all Hispanic children.48,49 Again, in 2012, 45 percent of Latin American immigrants were unauthorized. Together, this information suggests that 23 percent (.52 x .45) of U.S.-born Hispanic children had a parent who was an unauthorized immigrant in 2012.
Most unauthorized immigrants from Latin America come from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Ecuador.46 Douglas Massey,  leading expert on immigration flows from Latin America to the United States, estimated that 56 percent of immigrants from these five countries were unauthorized in 2010.47 By matching this estimate with 2010e population estimates of the percentage of Hispanic children with heritage in these five countries who had an immigrant parent (see Table 1), we found that 34 percent (.56 x .60) of children with heritage in any of these five countries had a parent who was an unauthorized immigrant in 2010. Roughly 1 in 3 children of Mexican and Ecuadorian heritage, 2 in 5 children of Salvadorian and Guatemalan heritage, and more than half of children of Honduran heritage had an unauthorized immigrant parent in 2010.

Approach 3: Extrapolating from the Survey of Income and Program Participation

Our third approach to estimating the proportion of Hispanic children in the U.S. who have an unauthorized immigrant parent or parents is based on data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The SIPP is the only federal nationally representative survey that directly asks people about their immigration status.50 Although respondents are not asked whether they are unauthorized immigrants, the information provided can be used to identify Hispanic parents who seem likely to fit this category. The SIPP links adults to children who live with them, which enables one to estimate the share of Hispanic children who live with an unauthorized immigrant parent.
SIPP respondents were asked whether they were U.S. citizens or permanent residents (“green card holders”). Respondents were classified as unauthorized immigrants if they declined to identify as citizens or permanent residents and if they lacked other indicators that suggest authorized status, such as being a government employee or participating in public programs.51,52
Applying appropriate survey weights, we estimated that 8.6 percent of all adult immigrants were unauthorized immigrants from Latin America.53 We also estimated that these unauthorized Hispanic immigrants were parents of 10 percent of all children in the SIPP sample. It is important to note that both estimates (i.e., that of parents and that of children) may be low, since unauthorized immigrant status is based on what respondents said about themselves on a sensitive topic. However, the ratio between the two estimates is meaningful. If the birth rates among SIPP respondents are comparable to those of the population more broadly, we can scale up this ratio to approximate the proportion of Hispanic children with an unauthorized immigrant parent.
DHS and the Pew Research Center estimated that 9.6 million unauthorized immigrants of Latin American heritage lived in the United States in 2008, accounting for 24.2 percent of all immigrants.10,54 This ratio of unauthorized Latin American immigrants to all immigrants was 2.8 times that estimated using the SIPP (24.2 percent/8.6 percent). In the same way, the share of Hispanic children with an unauthorized immigrant parent was 2.8 times larger than what was found in the SIPP (2.8* 10 percent). From this, we estimated that 28 percent of Hispanic children had an unauthorized immigrant parent in 2008.f
(8.6%)/(10.0%)=(24.1%)/?

? = 28.0%

Conclusion

Approximately 1 in 4 U.S. Latino children have a parent who is an unauthorized immigrant, a finding that is striking in its consistency across data sources and methods. This means that there are more than 4 million Latino children in the United States who are at risk of experiencing parental separation and the stress and fear associated with their family’s uncertain legal status.
We also found that the likelihood of a Latino child having an unauthorized immigrant parent varies by country of heritage, suggesting varying levels of risk to children’s wellbeing. In 2010—the most recent year data are available by county of heritage—the proportion of Latino children with a parent who was an unauthorized immigrant parent ranged from 1 in 3 among children with Mexican heritage to roughly 1 in 2 among children with Honduran roots. These patterns reflect our nation’s immigration history as well as the factors that have shaped migration from specific countries.55,56 For example, while there is a long history of Mexican migration to the United States, significant levels of migration from Central American countries are more recent and driven by civil war, violence, and dire economic conditions.43,57
As our nation continues the important discourse about how to move forward on immigration policy, it is critical that we acknowledge the extent to which Latino children are disproportionately affected by these policies, and the potential impact of various policy alternatives on their short- and long-term well-being. This will matter not only for Latino children’s well-being, but also for the social and economic well-being of our nation.

Notes

a We use the terms Hispanic and Latino interchangeably, except when referring to information derived from federal data sources that use the term Hispanic.
b Latin America includes Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
This method of comparing DHS and Census estimates is adapted from Massey (2015).47DHS reported that 8.9 million people born in North America and 0.7 million people born in South America were unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Unauthorized Canadian immigrants were included, but comprised 1 percent of the unauthorized immigrant population in the United States.
Some research suggests that unauthorized immigrants, who tend to be younger than people in the general population, have more children than authorized immigrants or non-immigrants. If unauthorized immigrants have higher rates of childbearing, in general, than others, the proportion of Hispanic children with an unauthorized immigrant parent will be higher. Thus, we have applied the most conservative assumption to derive this estimate.
2010 is the most recent year for which estimates of the unauthorized population by country of origin are available.
A multiple imputation approach, which takes into account other characteristics of unauthorized immigrants, yields a similar estimate: 28.6 percent (available upon request).53

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