The majority of children of illegal immigrants from Mexico in the Southland fail to graduate from high school, completing an average of two fewer years of schooling than their peers with legal immigrant parents, a new study has found.
The study by UC Irvine professor Frank Bean and three other researchers documented the persistent educational disadvantages for such children — who number 3.8 million, with about 80% born in the United States.
The study's authors said their findings highlighted the need to help such families gain legal status and a more secure future, arguing that deporting all of them was unrealistic.
"By not providing pathways to legalization, the United States not only risks creating an underclass, but also fails to develop a potentially valuable human resource," the report said.
Lupe Moreno of the Santa Ana-based Latino Americans for Immigration Reform, however, said the study's findings do not justify granting legalization to undocumented migrants, who she believes should be deported and made to reenter legally. Moreno, the daughter of an illiterate Mexican bracero worker who worked the fields herself but graduated from high school, also blamed schools for failing to help the children of illegal immigrants graduate.