DACA recipients will lose protection from deportation in March. And although lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have voiced support for the DREAM Act, disagreements over border security and other issues have stalled legislative action.
Yet despite current conditions, college counselors and admission officers are uniquely positioned to offer support and hope to young immigrants, author/activist Julissa Arce noted during a Tuesday #NACACreads chat.
Education, she said, “has always been a great equalizer.”
“For undocumented people, reaching our goals comes with great sacrifice. And yet we keep going,” Arce tweeted. “Even now, as DACA was rescinded, Dreamers in DC are fighting for their right to stay in this country.”
Arce’s parents brought her to the United States from Mexico on a tourist visa when she was 11. Despite the obstacles she faced as an undocumented student, she graduated from college and went on to become a Wall Street executive.
Arce became a US citizen in 2014. Three years later, she published a memoir — My (Underground) American Dream — chronicling her experiences.
During Tuesday night’s chat, she urged counselors and admission professionals to keep reaching out to undocumented students.
“Yes, undocumented students bring unique challenges, but they also bring amazing energy and (a) ‘will get it done’ attitude,” Arce tweeted.
Her work is now focused on helping immigrant youth succeed. During the chat, she highlighted several resources and programs serving undocumented students, including:
- An effort aimed at supporting undocumented students interested in health care careers.
- A sampling of organizations that offer scholarships to undocumented students.
- A map showing where undocumented students can access in-state tuition.
“Education can help break barriers,” Arce told the roughly 50 counselors and admission professionals who participated in Tuesday’s online discussion. “Let’s level the playing field for everyone!”
Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.