It’s a time of uncertainly and fear for undocumented students.
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.
Congress has signaled it’s ready to tackle reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), but a bill introduced last week in the US House of Representatives has NACAC and other education organizations concerned.
“While NACAC agrees that the HEA needs to be reauthorized, this bill goes about it in the wrong way,” Michael Rose, NACAC’s director for government relations noted in a press release. “After an initial review, it is clear this bill reduces or eliminates student protections against fraud and abuse, and further dilutes the federal contribution to improving access to postsecondary education.”
An estimated 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate from US high schools each year.
In 2001, Julissa Arce was one of those students.
“I graduated in the top 5 percent of my class,” she wrote in her memoir, My (Underground) American Dream. “I was all smiles. My whole family was proud of me. And all of us were worried.”
Join us Jan. 9 for a #NACACreads discussion of Arce’s book and the challenges undocumented students face as they make their way to and through higher education. Arce will participate in the hour-long Twitter chat, which kicks off at 9 p.m. ET.
The coalition is encouraging colleges and universities to recognize Oct. 16-20 as Protect Dreamers Week. New resources created to help educators and others advocate on behalf of DREAMers include a fact sheet and talking points.
President Trump announced this week that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will end in six months.
Since 2012, DACA has provided deportation relief to undocumented youth who came to the country before the age of 16, as long as they met certain criteria.
NACAC was among several education organizations to speak out against Trump’s decision. In a statement released on Tuesday, the association said the move to eliminate DACA was a “regressive step that hurts many of America’s brightest, most vulnerable youth.”
NACAC expressed its strong support today for the reintroduction of the DREAM Act, which would provide certain undocumented students the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents and eventually apply for citizenship.
The DREAM Act, first proposed in the early 2000s and reintroduced this afternoon by Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), would also allow states to grant in-state tuition to DREAMers — making a college degree more affordable for thousands of students.
Colleges across the US have made major strides in their efforts to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.
But a recent New York Times op-ed published by a University of Mississippi grad provides an important reminder that much work still needs to be done.
By his own admission, Dylan Lewis “thrived in college.” At the University of Mississippi he finally felt free to be himself. Lewis joined the student government, led campus tours, and felt safe and supported.
Yet despite a welcoming campus, Lewis— like many LGBT youth — faced unique challenges on his path to college completion.