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Faculty Voices

NLU Professor offers unique insight into the realities of unaccompanied migrant children

heidbrinkblogWith an unprecedented increase of Central American migrant children to the U.S., there is an urgent need to examine the realities of children beyond their initial apprehension by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. While the issue has recently garnered widespread attention, the following insights remain absent from the national conversation:

  • Detailed accounts of conditions within Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities,
  • Discussion of the long-term impacts of migration and detention on children, and
  • Experiences of children and their families following deportation.

In her book, Migrant Youth, Transnational Families and the State: Care and Contested Interests, NLU Assistant Professor Lauren Heidbrink, Ph.D. takes a timely look at how young migrants navigate the legal and emotional terrain beyond apprehension while examining essential areas surrounding this issue. Over a three-year period, she observed operations in 12 facilities, interviewed over 100 migrant youth from 19 countries both in detention and following release, and interviewed over 350 stakeholders in the U.S., El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Migrant Youth, Transnational Families, and the State, by Lauren Heidbrink“This timely study shows the contradictions and complexities of the way children are treated under both immigration and family law, giving serious attention to their agency, and bringing their voices to life.” —Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Heidbrink is an anthropologist, Co-Director of the NLU Public Policy program, and teaches in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department. She received a doctorate in anthropology from Johns Hopkins University, joint master of arts and master of science in International Public Service Management from DePaul University, and a Bachelors in City Planning, Latin American Studies, and Spanish Literature from the University of Virginia. Her research and teaching interests include childhood and youth, transnational migration, performance and identity, law at the margins of the state and Latin America.

Migrant Youth, Transnational Families and the State: Care and Contested Interests is available through the University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia).

Supporting the pathway to post-secondary education and careers

shutterstock_150378902I am pleased to have the opportunity to tell readers of the NLU blog a little bit about my work. As a community psychologist, I am interested in strengthening partnerships between schools, families and communities. In particular, I am interested in strengthening the connections between K-12 education, post-secondary education and training, and employment in low-income communities. I am collaborating with the Chicago Public Schools Department of Family and Community Engagement to support the activities of the Community Action Council in Bronzeville.

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Chicago 3.0: Propelling Chicago’s education system forward

shutterstock_102586190Recently the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released the results of its Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a leading survey of education systems conducted every three years and taken by 15-year-olds in 65 countries. The results revealed that U.S. student scores are stagnant while other countries’ are improving. With this in mind, for the U.S., and Chicago specifically, to become more capable of impact on a global scale, we need to fortify our foundations through education. From a local perspective, we need a “Chicago 3.0” plan.

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