After an Immigration Raid: Information for Schools

Find out what schools and early childhood programs need to know about supporting students and families who have been impacted by immigration raids or enforcement activity.

Mississippi Immigration Raids: Related Resources


Background Information

What You Need to Know

When an immigration raid happens, local schools are often directly involved in:

  • taking care of children in the hours or days following the raid
  • locating known caregivers
  • providing both short- and long-term support for children who may have been separated from their parents
  • working with community partners to care for and support children impacted by the raid.

In some cases those families are reunited, but in others, the adults are detained or deported. Many families may undergo upheaval, loss of income, or periods of great stress and uncertainty.

In addition to the trauma, anxiety, and uncertainty these families will face, schools should be prepared for:

  • transience
  • impacts on basic needs (housing, food, etc.)
  • changes in caregiving arrangements
  • additional questions about protecting students in school from immigration activity.

You can learn a lot about what a community can expect from our article on Postville, IA below.

Educators of young children may wish to watch for signs of trauma that can impact healthy development and attachment. Educators of older students should be aware that the students, in addition to the stress, trauma, and anxiety that they feel, may have additional responsibilities at home (financial, caretaking for younger siblings, managing contact with detained family members, etc.).

The following information highlights what schools need to know in order to best support their students and families during these times.

How to Support Immigrant Students and Families

Our comprehensive immigration guide offers in-depth information for schools and early childhood centers:

Support for Students & Families

Topics related to the aftermath of immigration raids include the following:

Support for Staff

Crisis management can take a toll on staff. Take a look at these ideas for helping staff work together to solve problems and support each other.

You may also receive offers of assistance or support from your local community. Talk with families in the community, community leaders, and school colleagues to determine what assistance might be of most use.

The Importance of Emergency Contact Information

One of the most important things that schools and early childhood programs can do to support immigrant families is to help keep accurate emergency contact records. Educators who have experienced immigration raids in their community say that this is one of the most critical steps educators can take on behalf of immigrant families.

This step can make a significant difference in the outcome of a family’s situation where questions of legal guardianship are at stake.

Lessons Learned

Lessons from Postville: How an Immigration Raid Changed a Small Town and Its Schools

In this Q & A written for Colorín Colorado, ESL coordinator Joy Minikwu describes what students, families, and staff experienced during and after a massive immigration raid in the small town of Postville, Iowa in 2008. She also suggests steps that schools can take to prepare for immigration enforcement activity in their community.

Related Booklists for Children

Family Separation: Stories and More

These stories address difficult topics around family separation. Many relate to immigrant stories (both historic and contemporary). These books can be a powerful tool in helping children talk about their feelings and experiences during or after a separation.

For more books about immigration, see our related booklists for children and teens.