Children of illegal immigrants 'suffer most' from tight immigration laws

By: Lorena Estrada Email
By: Lorena Estrada Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Lourdes Garza, director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Knoxville, said Alabama's law has instilled fear in illegal immigrants. That was evident when more than 2,000 Hispanic students didn't go to school Monday.

"Just having one of your parents being undocumented brings a lot of stress into the home," Garza said.

One Harvard study found that 'fear of deportation' takes a toll on development and educational growth, especially since parents can't take part in their social or academic lives.

"They're afraid to go shopping, afraid to be seen, afraid to drive. They're going to have to make some drastic decisions," Garza said.

Some of those drastic decisions include moving to a different state or back to their country.

Dr. De Ann Pendry said requiring K-12 teachers to check the status of their teachers is "turning educators into law enforcers."

"It not only affects immigrants, it affects every school secretary that works in the front office of every single school in the state," she said.

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