Some 454,000 undocumented immigrants are enrolled in United States colleges and universities, and of these, 216,000 are eligible for the Deferred Action (DACA) program that suspended the deportations of those who were brought into the country illegally when they were minors, according to a report released this Thursday.
The study was carried out by the New American Economy and the Presidential Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration while awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court of Justice on the program that covers some 700,000 people.RELATED
“These data represent a wake-up call to Congress, which must prioritize legislation that eliminates barriers for students,” said Miriam Felblum, executive director of the Presidential Alliance.
For his part, Andrew Lim, director of research at the New American Economy, stated that “the data shows that opening the doors of higher education to undocumented students and those protected by DACA has resulted in higher enrollment and higher rates of graduation which benefits entire communities. “
In 2017, President Donald Trump reversed the executive order of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who in 2012 created this program that gives temporary residence and work permits.
Trump’s decision has been questioned in court by “dreamers,” as DACA youth call themselves, and a ruling by the Supreme Court is expected between now and June.
The five states with the highest number of undocumented students in their higher education institutions are California (92,000), Texas (66,000), Florida (42,000), New York (33,000) and Illinois with (21,000).
82% of undocumented students are enrolled in public institutions and, according to the report, Latino students are 46% of this contingent, compared to 25% of Asians and 15% of black students.
Current college students who were brought into the country when they were under 12 years old are 47% of undocumented students, and 89% of them qualify for DACA protections.
Those who arrived between the ages of 13 and 21 are 39% of undocumented students, and 11% of them qualify for the program, according to this study.
The authors of the report noted that their data shows that undocumented students are “a crucial part of the effort to fill the severe shortage in healthcare sectors across the country” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In fact, 39% of undocumented graduate students already have a diploma in some field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” the report added.
“Some 280,000 undocumented immigrants, including 62,000 DACA-eligible people, serve as the frontline battle against the coronavirus, as health workers,” the report said.
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Roberto González, professor of education at Harvard University, noted that “whether DACA recipients are pursuing medical careers or are adult students at community colleges, undocumented students have made countless contributions to our society.”