A view of Columbia University. 
A view of Columbia University.  - 

The Department of Education released a resource guide Tuesday detailing how educators and school staff members can help undocumented high school and college students achieve educational and career success.

The guide includes an outline of undocumented student rights, financial aid tips, scholarship lists and information for students on how to apply for or renew participation in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Launched three years ago, DACA is an immigration policy that enables undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. for a period of two years and receive work permits.

More than 680,000 youth have been a part of DACA since the program's inception. Consideration is granted to those who have been in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and came to the country prior to their 16th birthday, among other stipulations.

The resource guide states that all children are entitled to an education, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status, and that school districts cannot prohibit students from enrolling if they do not have a birth certificate or fail to provide a Social Security number.  

Sarah Audelo, a policy director for Generation Progress, said she thinks the guide is incredibly important, particularly for its list of scholarships, because of the obstacles undocumented youth face when seeking a college education.

Undocumented students, including those a part of the DACA program, are currently ineligible for federal financial aid, she said.

Audelo added that she thinks it’s not only crucial to help undocumented youth enter college, but to make sure there are professors, counselors and other resources on campus to offer support when they attend.

Many undocumented students are stressed during college because, for example, they have parents who are dealing with deportation proceedings or live in other countries, she said. That's why Audelo thinks resources should also be geared toward helping undocumented youth graduate.

“For folks who may not identify as immigrants, these are our neighbors, these are our friends, this is our community,” Audelo added. “We want to make sure that they are treated fairly in this country because they are contributing so much everyday.”

 

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