This Spring, Students Aren’t Organizing Massive Walkouts

By Mary Ann Zehr — April 13, 2007 1 min read
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One year after students from immigrant families organized school walkouts to protest some of the proposals in the U.S. Congress to change federal immigration laws, most of those students aren’t doing the same this spring.

In a March 26 article, the Dallas Morning News noted how Gustavo Jimenez, who organized walkouts among fellow high schoolers last spring, has been concentrating on finishing his senior year, working a part-time job at J.C. Penney, and making plans to attend a community college in the fall. He has continued his interest in activism, though, by lobbying for passage of the DREAM Act (see “The ‘DREAM Act’ Is Reintroduced in Congress”).

On April 1, a Sunday, an immigrant-rights rally was held in Dallas to mark the social protests of a year ago, according to the Dallas Morning News. It attracted an estimated crowd of 2,000 to 6,000, which was small compared to the size of the crowd that reportedly attended an immigration-rights march in Dallas about a year ago.

In Pomona, Calif., 35 Pomona High School students left class at noon one day late last month and headed to City Hall, but were soon persuaded by officials of the Pomona Unified School District to return to class, according to a March 31 article in the Daily Bulletin of Ontario, Calif.

The immigration proposals that drew students into the streets last spring are now dead. A new proposal for comprehensive immigration reform was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last month, and President Bush has floated a planabout how to change current immigration law. But students aren’t voicing their views publicly about the proposals. (Read HR 1645: The Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007.)

I’d be curious to hear from some of you who teach students who participated in last year’s immigration-rights rallies—many of whom are English-language learners—whether their interest in national immigration policy has been sustained.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.