How students are affected by deportation

Three men sit behind a fence in order to symbolize deportation.

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Three men sit behind a fence in order to symbolize deportation.

Yedzi Flores, Reporter

There are so many things to deal with when being a student, a friend, and the child/relative of someone who has been deported. Deportation, though only being an 11 letter word, it has such an enormous impact that it can be too much for one to handle, especially at a young age. Being young and still in school, a child should be able to play outside, hang out with friends, and watch movies with their families. 

Their biggest worry should be whether or not their homework is finished for the next day. It should not have to be about being torn away from their loved ones at any moment. Children of the undocumented are always taught in a way that makes them feel as if they need to be constantly walking around eggshells because they never know when their friends, families, or themselves can be deported. 

Living in this fear is unbearable and causes hard patches in a student’s life. For instance, highschool junior Jamie Jones (real name withheld) states, “I think deportation is something very scary, so many people in this country, being an immigrant, can make undocumented people and their friends and families feel uneasy at all times. My parents are undocumented and they always feared that one day we would be apart from each other, which added to the stress I always had going on.” 

The perspective students have on deportation, who are immigrants or have significant people in their lives who are undocumented, sparks a negative and angry response. A 2017 article by the Washington Post states, “its purpose is not to solve the problem of undocumented immigration, but rather to turn immigrants into a convenient scapegoat when the economy goes sour.” 

Focusing on undocumented immigrants gives politicians a quick fix and an easy out while failing to address the larger, more complicated problems that spur their immigration. For example, high school sophomore Mimi Martinez (real name withheld) said, “I think deportation is stupid, so many people come to the US walking miles and miles, risking their lives just for a better one. To be kicked out of the country is such a punch in the gut. It’s like saying, “you’re not good enough to be in my country, either do things the right way or don’t do it at all.”

A 2019 article by the Washington Post states, “Immigrant advocates say the packed jail cells result from an administration obsessed with employing harsh immigration tactics as a means of deterrence.” With an “obsessed” administration enforcing severe immigration tactics to discourage an immigrant is something that also reinforces fear. Fear for everyone in relation to whoever is being deported. Why do they do this? Do they know that all they are leaving for the people left behind is an enormous amount of distress? 

Everyone associated with the situation is affected. It’s a cycle that goes on affecting everyone and anyone. Alison Archod (real name withheld) states, “My friend’s dad was deported. At first, she didn’t say anything, but I had noticed she was sad and stressed all the time and I was stressed for her. One day she was at my house and she burst into tears and was so incredibly distraught about the entire thing. She had just gone on and on about how unfair it was to have such a role model in her life be taken away like that. I was so incredibly worried for her mental and physical health. She wasn’t eating and she was constantly worrying about the economical state her family was then placed in.”

Deporting one person can affect so many other people not just mentally or physically, but also economically, and education-wise. For instance, in a 2019 fact sheet by the American Immigration Council, it states, “Children experience toxic stress when they are suddenly separated from their parents, which negatively impacts brain development. They are also at greater risk of developing chronic mental health conditions that include depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as physical conditions such as cancer, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.” This fact sheet also additionally claims, “An analysis of 2014 median family income estimated that a family’s income would decrease 50 percent following the deportation of a family member.”

As a society that is always needing improvement, are we really up to put the children of the future at such a huge risk. With such huge risks on the table and all the things that already factor into the adversity students and people in general already face, there really isn’t much room for big decisions like separating a family or a friend to be made.