I’m about a week behind the 8-ball on this one, but if you haven’t taken the time to read this, you need to. It gives me a glimpse into the world of some of our most vulnerable students, the children of undocumented families. And, it just reaffirms some things I’ve picked up on in my ten years as a counselor: They have a strong sense of uncertainty, and preparing for something like college is only a distant dream. For many of these kids, there are more immediate, pressing needs. That perspective is best summed up in this passage:
The future is frightening for a student without legal papers. School provides some shelter from our reality, and we know that most of our teachers and counselors have done their best for us. But life gets a lot more challenging, and threatening, once we turn 18 and are out of school. Our family and financial pressures can get a lot more demanding, and the threat of detention and even deportation becomes very real.
We’re taking our fifth grade students on a trip to a local university later this year, and I’d love to be able to look all of them in the eye and tell them that this is a reality for them in the near future. Unless policies change, though, it’s going to be much more difficult for these students to attend college.
I love how this letter ends on such a positive note, encouraging us as educators to keep encouraging them, regardless of their immigration status. That last sentence sums up our imperative as counselors and educators. ”Someday the politicians will figure out what to do with us, and we need to be ready.”
Meaning, we need to get them ready right alongside of their non-undocumented peers.