US Teachers Caught in Immigration Debate

The question of how US educators should attempt to help students who are illegal immigrants is a detail of the nation’s immigration reform debate that has come to light since Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Jose Antonio Vargas revealed he is an undocumented worker, according to The Associated Press.

Vargas excelled in his California high school but was not on a path to college due to his immigration status. The former Washington Post reporter told the AP he wasn’t sure he could have pursued a career in journalism without the assistance of Rich Fischer and Pat Hyland, two school administrators in his community who helped him find a college scholarship.

“We’re educators. We don’t work for the I.N.S.,” Fischer, now retired as school superintendent, told the AP.

Educators have largely been left to their own devices when faced with illegal students. Michael Simpson, a National Education Association attorney, told the source the teacher’s union does not have a stance on the issue and does not deem it a subject they need to educate teachers about.

However, more teachers may be dealing with the issue first hand as more state legislatures pass tough immigration reform law. For instance, Alabama, which recently passed the nation’s strictest immigration bill, now requires school to report the immigration status of its students.