The Warren Institute is committed to conducting research that will inform policy decisions, particularly in the areas of immigration integration, criminalization of immigrants and employment issues. Our immigration initiative is taking the lead in asking the difficult and complex questions regarding worker protections, employment verification and low-wage worker displacement. We are also researching immigrant children's access to education (an issue that straddles our immigration and educational equity work). We aim to provide high caliber research that will inform advocacy efforts and persuade both policymakers and the public of the need for equitable, forward-thinking new policies.
The Working Papers Series on Immigration
With the generous support of The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Warren Institute disseminated a call for research paper proposals in 2006. From these proposals, we published a series of research studies in our Working Papers Series. We are pleased to be able to provide these studies as a resource for scholars, advocates and policymakers.
Access to Education and Undocumented Children
The California DREAM Act
As a bill that would allow undocumented minors to compete for state financial aid for post-secondary education awaited Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature in Sacramento, the Warren Institute released a brief on the potential impact of such a law. Citing evidence from various studies by social scientists and government agencies, the brief shows that the economic benefits that the state of California would see as a result of the “DREAM Act” (SB 1301) are substantial. In terms of both workforce development and tax revenue, the DREAM Act would allow California to get a “return" on the investment that it is already making through K-12 education of undocumented students. Working in collaboration with University of Washington sociologist Roberto Gonzales, WI Director of Immigration Policy Aarti Kohli researched and wrote the new brief: Getting a Return on Investment: The California DREAM Act.
The 25th Anniversary of Plyler v. Doe
In 1982, in a case that profoundly affected the lives of undocumented families, the Supreme Court ruled that undocumented children had a constitutional right to a free public education. As a result of Plyler v. Doe, thousands of undocumented children have had access to the American school system for the past two decades. This extremely close decision (5-4) has, however, repeatedly been challenged at the state and local levels. Given the very contentious debate taking place throughout the country regarding immigrant rights, it is entirely possible –maybe even likely—that this decision will be revisited at some point during the next decade. Significant gaps exist in our knowledge about the educational attainment and experiences of undocumented children in this country. To help address this need, the Warren Institute commissioned a series of papers examining the social, political and legal underpinnings of Plyler v. Doe. These papers were presented at an academic roundtable in May 2007, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Plyler decision.