NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Vanished Classmates: The Effects of Local Immigration Enforcement on Student Enrollment

Thomas Dee, Mark Murphy

NBER Working Paper No. 25080
Issued in September 2018
NBER Program(s):Children, Economics of Education

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the federal law-enforcement agency with primary responsibility for enforcing immigration laws within the U.S. However, for over a decade, ICE has formed partnerships that also allow local police to enforce immigration law (i.e., identifying and arresting undocumented residents). Prior studies, using survey data with self-reported immigrant and citizenship status, provide mixed evidence on the demographic impact of these controversial partnerships. This study presents new evidence based on the public-school enrollment of Hispanic students. We find that local ICE partnerships reduce the number of Hispanic students by nearly 10 percent within 2 years. We estimate that the local ICE partnerships enacted before 2012 displaced over 300,000 Hispanic students. These effects appear to be concentrated among elementary-school students. We find no corresponding effects on the enrollment of non-Hispanic students. We also find no evidence that ICE partnerships reduced pupil-teacher ratios or the percent of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25080

 
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