graphic for “Effects of Immigration Enforcement on Students in California”

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Associate Professor at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, is a co-author—with Jacob Kirksey, Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University and Gevirtz School alumnus—of the Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) brief “Effects of Immigration Enforcement on Students in California.” The brief, released by PACE at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, addresses significant anti-immigration challenges impacting students, policymakers, and educators.

Key findings of the brief include:

  • Achievement, attendance, and school climate and safety decline for Latinx and Latinx English learners as immigration arrests increase
  • Declines in achievement, increased absenteeism, and other effects related to immigration arrests were sharper during the Trump Administration

Recommendations of the brief include:

  • Inclusive and supportive policies and practices for immigrant-origin students and immigrant families
  • Proper training and support for school personnel

As immigration enforcement continues, the task of supporting undocumented immigrants and their children becomes ever more difficult. Education leaders face an unprecedented challenge as students are confronted with anti-immigrant policies, practices, and rhetoric. Based on a developing list of questions from policymakers and practitioners, PACE taps top researchers from across the country to develop evidence briefs to inform more equitable outcomes at all levels of California’s education system.

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the Gevirtz School. Her research focuses on issues of educational access and equity for immigrant-origin youth and other historically underserved student populations. Her work includes exploratory qualitative studies of immigrant and homeless families’ school choice behaviors; experimental research to develop and test interventions to reduce educational inequities; and studies of school leaders’ responses to xenophobia in schools and society and their sense of preparedness to address the consequences of immigration enforcement and racism for their school communities.

Sattin-Bajaj’s work has been funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Heckscher Foundation for Children, the New York Community Trust, and the American Educational Research Association. Carolyn is author of Unaccompanied Minors: Immigrant Youth, School Choice, and the Pursuit of Equity (Harvard Education Press, 2014), Matching Students to Opportunity: Expanding College Choice, Access and Quality (co-editor with Andrew Kelly and Jessica Howell, Harvard Education Press, 2016), Blueprint for School System Transformation: A Vision for Comprehensive Reform in Milwaukee and Beyond (co-editor with Frederick M. Hess, Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) and Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World: The Ross School Model and Education for the Global Era (co-editor with Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, New York University Press, 2010). Sattin-Bajaj earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in international education from New York University. Prior to earning her doctorate, she worked on secondary school reform at the New York City Department of Education.

Jacob Kirksey (Education, Ph.D.,’20) is an Assistant Professor and Associate Director of K-12 Research of the Center for Innovative Research in Change, Leadership, and Education at the College of Education at Texas Tech University.  Kirksey's scholarship is broadly focused on issues at the nexus of education and other areas of public policy, including immigration policy, child and family policy, and workforce development.