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Forum Held to Discuss Working with Children of Unauthorized Immigrants  

Kappa Delta PiKappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society for Education, and the New Jersey Student Education Association recently held a program to discuss children of unauthorized immigrants as well as resources to assist those working with these children in schools and human services fields. The program drew approximately 70 attendees including current students from a variety of programs, faculty, and alumni. The panel discussion began by highlighting that there are one million unauthorized immigrant children currently living in the U.S. Children of unauthorized immigrants often face stigma and have experienced psychological and other trauma, which are often exacerbated by health disparities, financial strain, delays in cognitive and psycho-social development and therefore school performance among children. Thus, it is important for educators, administrators, counselors, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and other human service professionals to understand how best to work with children dealing with these types of stressors.

The program featured faculty from the College of Education and Human Services as well as Seton Hall alumnae. Dr. Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Center for College Readiness at the Department of Education Leadership, Management and Policy here at Seton Hall University shared valuable statistics on this salient issue and served as the evening’s discussant. Dr. Margaret Brady-Amoon, Associate Professor and Academic Director for Counseling Programs at Department of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy at Seton Hall University discussed the context of immigration and the particular challenges faced by unauthorized immigrants today. She also addressed the potential contributions of children of unauthorized immigrants and called for change in US policy as well as culturally and linguistically informed services that respect individual, family, and community strengths.

kappa delta pi forumIris Quiñones-Ramos, a Bilingual Speech-Language Specialist in the New Brunswick Public School System since 1999 and an active member of the Latina University Network Association (LUNA) at Seton Hall University shared information and resources from a practitioner’s perspective. Finally, Maria Del Cid, a LUPE (Latinas United for Political Empowerment) member/scholar, a Seton Hall alumna, and former Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute Scholar, shared her lived experiences as an undocumented student while attending community college.
Two students who attended expressed learning vital information that will be helpful in their careers, as well as developing strong empathy towards these children and families:

“The program was truly insightful. It was saddening to learn that gifted students are put at a disadvantage because of an undocumented status. For me, an undocumented status is nothing when compared to the things these students can accomplished once given the right resources, right attention and opportunities. Abilities and talents should be supported. You never know, that undocumented student who is being discriminated can formulate the cure for cancer in the future! Let's support them and work together to see that these individuals receive better treatment in the future.” – Jonique Crawford

"As a 1st-generation Asian-American born of parents who came to the United States with ratified status, the program definitely opened my eyes to the adversities that children of unauthorized immigrants face in their lives. I admire their strength and perseverance as they diligently pursue their American dreams regardless of their circumstances. As an incoming secondary educator of English and the fine arts, I am happy to have gained a more informed and broader perspective on the issue." -- Victoria Hilario ‘16

A special thank you to all who attended as well as the cosponsoring organizations including the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute, Adelante Latino/a Student Organization, Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority, Inc., Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarship Association, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Higher Education Graduate Student Association, The Department of Language, Literatures, and Cultures, and the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program.

Categories: Education

For more information, please contact:

  • Omayra Arocho
  • (973) 761-9668
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