The US Department of Education has issued a guide for undocumented students in this country. The document entitled “Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth”, was made public on October 20th, 2015, and focuses on middle school and high school. It contains information on the rights of students, as well as advice for teachers on how to help this target group, and on what type of financial aid is available for students born abroad.
“As a nation of immigrants the United States has benefited tremendously from the talents, values, and contributions of newcomers to our shores. In the face of immense barriers, many undocumented youth have exhibited exemplary perseverance, work ethic, and leadership. Yet hurdles and challenges remain…”, begins the Introduction to this guide.
The guide estimates that every year in the United States there are 80,000 undocumented students who turn 18, and that 65,000 of them graduate from high school. However, only 5 to percent of all undocumented students actually pursue a university degree, mostly because of the fact that undocumented students are not eligible for Title IV Federal financial aid, which includes student loans, work study, and grants.
According to the press office of the U. S. Department of education, the new guide includes:
- An overview of the rights of undocumented students;
- Tips for educators on how to support undocumented youth in high school and college;
- Key information on non-citizen access to federal financial aid;
- A list of private scholarships for which undocumented youth might be eligible;
- Information on federally-funded adult education programs at the local level; And
- Guidance for migrant students in accessing their education records for DACA.
Today, federal civil rights laws and the Supreme Court require states to provide equal access to public education to all children — and that means citizens, legal residents, and undocumented students alike.
An important number of these immigrant children accomplish great things and can become distinguished students and fellows, who will eventually join the workforce in this country.
Mexico´s Raúl Hernández-Sánchez, a member of the Talent Network of Mexicans Abroad (Red de Talentos Mexicanos) today does research in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology of Harvard University, where he is working on the fabrication of nanoparticle CsH2PO4 electrolyte for fuel cell applications (basically, a new type of fuel cell for cars called Solid Acid Fuel Cell ). Two other Mexican students, Cecil Benítez and Ismael Loera-Fernández, won this year the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans (established by the brothers of investment tycoon and philanthropist, George Soros, himself a Hungarian immigrant).
Cecil Benítez earned a PhD in Developmental Biology at Standorf and received a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Her thesis dealt with the “identification of transcriptional networks involved in the development of insulin-producing cells”. Benítez arrived in the United States at age 9.
Loera-Fernández, PhD candidate in chemistry at Rice University, moved to the US with his family at the age of 11. He attended Emory University where he was inducted into the Emory Hall of Fame, and graduated with degrees in both chemistry and economics. Loera-Fernández is the co-author of the 2015 study “Electron-Nuclear Double Resonance Spectroscopy”. He is one of the first two DACA recipients to ever be awarded the Soros Fellowship.
The American Immigration Council stated in its January 2015 fact sheet that “Immigrants are integral to Michigan’s economy as students”. It is in the best interest of the United States to help as many immigrant children as possible. A student that is constantly dreading deportation cannot focus on learning, and must constantly focus simply on surviving in this country, and this reduces dramatically his or her possibilities of success.