Monday, January 14, 2008

Immigration as ascription

Immigration status doesn’t show up in Blau & Duncan’s list of ascriptive characteristics, but it surely belongs there. Since children of U.S. citizens and children born in the U.S. are granted automatic citizenship, whether you’re a U.S. citizen, a documented immigrant, or an undocumented immigrant is a function of the conditions of your birth.

Would we get a different picture of the relationship between ascription and achievement in the U.S. today if we considered immigration as an ascriptive characteristic? This article suggests that the answer is probably yes. Thanks to a 1982 Supreme Court decision, students don’t need documentation to attend American public elementary and high schools. But as one undocumented immigrant put it: “After high school, I am done. This is the end of me.” Most public colleges charge undocumented immigrants out-of-state tuition, and few state and federal financial aid programs are available to them. And lacking documentation is a major hurdle in the job market.


Group 3 said...

We (group 3) agree that immigration status should be included as an ascriptive characteristic. The first reason is because of the cultural and linguistic barriers that could potentially create a lack of communication between the teachers and parents. Additionally, parents would be unfamiliar with the educational system and be incapable of helping their children with schoolwork and also lack the social capital or social networks that help the advancement of their children throughout their educational careers. When parents do not know English, they tend to raise their children to speak their same language and this in itself acts as a handicap for the students.

group 5 said...

Citizenship is ascription in the sense that it is something that immigrants are not born with. Additionally, it can affect educational opportunities as well as value towards education. Although you can still attend primary and secondary schools as a noncitizen, it does affect your illegibility for college financial assistance. A lot immigrants came from collectivist cultures that view education as beneficial to the society as opposed to individuals. As a result, parents of immigrants do not see education as a main priority.

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