Contrary to earlier centuries when immigrants were mainly from Europe, the current immigrations are from developing countries of Latin America, Asian, and Africa. In the past few decades, people have migrated to the United States to seek opportunities, refuge, and better lives due to the structural changes of the US economy and the challenging world events (Glick and Michael, 2003). Consequently, the patterns of migration across the US borders have significantly changed. In 1950s for instance, majority of immigrants came from Canada rather than Mexico, while the most immigrants in the 1980s from Mexico exceeded those from Canada. The huge number of immigrants combined with the changes in demographic profile has stirred up both public controversy and debate. Most natives of the US believe that immigrants are draining the resources of the country, including employment, housing, health care, and education. As far as public education is concerned, a large portion of anti-immigrants sentiments is most evident. For instance, Californian residents voted for the passage of Proposition 187, dubbed “Save Our State”. The voters’ initiative was a protest by the native residents to protect their social resources from the economic hardships resulting from illegal immigrants (Fuligni, Vivian, and May 2001). The major part of the proposition targeted educational programs that “benefited” illegal immigrant students. The controversy, fueled by media semantics that do not differentiate the difference between legal and illegal immigrants, expanded and spread into other states with high immigrant population. However, that was not the end. The anti-immigrant...
From the analysis of the research, it is evident that educational programs are beneficial to immigrant students. The programs, referred to as newcomer programs, enable immigrant student to familiarize with the social and educational system of the country before transferring to the mainstream educational system with other proficient and native students. Essentially, these structural programs aim at improving integrating and improving English proficiency among immigrant students. Drawing upon the socialization theories, parents indeed play an important role in the educational achievement of the immigrant child. However, parents of immigrant children often hold back on educational advice because of lack of proper documentation and work obligations. Additionally, education acts a socialization factor for both the natives and immigrant students. Nonetheless, some immigrants may feel some form of discrimination when subjected to newcomer educational programs.
It is practically impossible to integrate immigrant students into the US school and social system without some form of counseling and guidance, as it is a new social environment for the subjects. Therefore, immigrant educational programs are beneficial in four major ways. First, they enable the individual to adapt to the new social environment. Two, they enhance the self-esteem and encouragement essential for academic achievement. The research shows that the difference between the educational achievements of natives and immigrants is very small.