Hispanic immigrant students
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For the past two hundred years, millions of people from different countries have immigrated to the United States seeking freedom, peace, prosperity, financial stability, and/or to enhance their education. In 2006, it was estimated that 12.5% of the U.S. population or 37.5 million individuals were foreign-born. In the last 50 years the vast majority of immigrants have come from Latin America and Asia. Due to the large increase in immigration and high birth-rates among Latinos/as, the number of immigrant children in schools has also increased dramatically. In 2004 it was estimated that there were over 4.0 million English-Language Learners enrolled in the United States. Most of these learners are Hispanic/Latino/a and, sadly, have a high drop-out rate. Throughout the years, extensive research has been conducted on immigrants' experiences. However, most of these studies have concentrated on adults. It could easily be assumed that immigrant students face special difficulties related to their families and country of origin, their adjustment to their new homes, schools, and in general to a new culture. Yet, the majority of research on immigrant school-age students has concentrated on curriculum issues and second-language acquisition. Little is known about the personal experiences of immigrant students and their difficulties prior to and after arriving in this country. If these experiences are traumatic in nature, they can easily influence children's school performance. As the number of immigrant students increases, school administrators are continuously trying to develop programs and services that will help these students learn English and stay in school. Learning more about the issues immigrant students face will likely help school representatives provide services that can enhance their education. Consequently, the purpose of this study is to learn more about the direct personal experiences and struggles of Latino/a/Hispanic immigrant students. An archival, qualitative analysis of anonymous counseling records is used toward this end.