The Migrant Caravan and Education

This past June, IEN posted a timeline of the Trump administration’s war on immigrant families and children. This past week, those attacks continued in Trump’s violent rhetoric about a migrant caravan traveling toward the U.S. border. In this post, Managing Editor Jordan Corson, follows up by providing an overview of how immigration and migrant caravan intersects with education issues and sharing some educational resources for educators.

In recent days Trump has tried to use the latest migrant caravan as an opportunity to energize his base of supporters before the mid-term elections. Despite Trump’s focus on the most recent caravan of roughly 6,000 immigrants from Central America, Voices of San Diego’s Everything you need to know about the migrant caravan, and those that came before” details, caravans are nothing new. The caravans are not simply a product of conditions within home countries but are “often a manifestation of a profoundly unequal and exploitative relationship between countries from which people emigrate and countries of destination,” as this Business Insider article elaborates.  The latest caravan along with others have been supported by Pueblo sin Fronteras (people without borders), an organization dedicated to “reaching out to the most vulnerable immigrants in the United States and to migrants and refugees on the move.” In doing so, they “accompany migrants and refugees in their journey of hope, and together demand our human rights.” An NBC story on the organization provides further details.

Education and the Caravan

There are about 2300 children traveling in the latest caravan. These conditions leading children and families to travel to the U.S. certainly includes schooling and the opportunity to study and attend school in the U.S. The education system in Honduras is underfunded and, as another outlet puts it “People are unable to access education, health care and employment, and violence is ubiquitous. In an interview with France 24, a “migrant, who gave his name as Jaled, said they were marching ‘because there is no work in Honduras, no education, nothing good. The cost of life increases every weekend.’”

Schools in Honduras, the country of origin for many in the latest caravan, face many struggles, including safety concerns and persistently unequal conditions. At the same time, many in Honduras continue to work to improve the country’s education system. Global Partnership highlights changes and plans to improve the education system. A Relief Web piece describes teachers, with the support of the UNHCR, working together to improve the system at a more local level.

Yet, children in this caravan face increasing risks, with recent reports of a child being abducted. Last Friday, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto announced a new program You Are Home (Estas en tu casa), which offers children a place in Mexican schools. Yet, many in the caravan, however, have decided to continue traveling toward the U.S.

Although many adults and children should be eligible to apply for asylum and its accompanying protections, there is considerable speculation and much uncertainty about what will happen when the caravan reaches the U.S. border. In addition, although children in the caravan enter the U.S. are, at least legally speaking, guaranteed equal access to schools, City Lab reports on the educational crisis that many face once they arrive. Within this uncertainty, it is still clear that those in the caravan are travelling in search of opportunities, including the possibility of a different educational path.


Additional resources that may be useful for classrooms

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