Latino Education and Birthright Citizenship
By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright
The debate on birthright citizenship has just begun and
legislation threatens to take away the right of immigrants
who become an American citizenship by birth. The continuous
and unparalleled growth of the Latino population as evidenced
in the 2010 United States Census has refueled the Shakesperean
question of who is and who is not an American citizen. According
to Alan Gomez’ August 12th, 2010 article in USA Today, there
is much concern regarding the 14th Ammendment amongst US legislators.
With the November elections just around the corner, some US
legislators have rekindled the issue of birthright citizenship
within their constituents.
The amount of children born in the USA to illegal immigrants
have leaped to 4 million in 2009, as compared to 2.7 million
in 2003. Children born to illegal immigrants are immediately
given U.S. citizenship. Because the majority of these children
are Latino--this adds to the on-going discussion on whether
or not to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants. As the
percentage of native born people in the U.S. has dropped for
the last forty years, there is widespread worry amongst some
US legislators in terms of the benefits that this may represent
for issues such as education.
While the economy has taken the vanguard of all the issues
discussed today, the US Government continues to ignore the
fact that the largest minority in America is not only at an
economic disadvantage, but because it is less educated; it
is at risk of becoming underrepresented for their lack of
knowledge. Although there are underlying factors (teenage
pregnancy, illegal immigration, lack of parent involvement,
etc.) which derail the educational advancement of Latinos,
there is no specific and concrete vision concerning what to
do, where to go and how to handle the educational issues of
America’s fastest growing minority.
There is a need of an educational policy that meets the academic
demands of Latino children. Scientifically based research
has reiterated the validity of the use of culturally relevant
texts in the English classroom. The increasing Latino High
School dropout rate is based on the educational system’s inability
to retain the interest of the Latino young adult in the classroom.
Without a defined vision for Latino education, America will
continue to look for ways to hold back the political and economic
power of Latinos in America. Taking away birthright citizenship
is just another way to stop the educational opportunities
that Latinos and all Americans have a right to receive.