Toolkit | Access to Postsecondary Education

Toolkit | Access to Postsecondary Education



A PORTION OF UNDOCUMENTED immigrants are children and young adults who arrived in the U.S. at a young age. Many of these youth have lived most of their lives in communities in the U.S. and have attended U.S. schools. Like their U.S. citizen peers, they embrace American culture and values. Their commitment to these values is demonstrated in the drive and self-sufficiency that allowed them to achieve academic success in spite of the challenges associated with their socioeconomic characteristics. In seeking to pay in-state tuition rates, these youth seek a fair opportunity to pursue and realize their full potential. Like their peers, they wish to fulfill their dreams.

Storytelling — Immigrants Rising

Immigrants Rising is a diverse and community-driven network that strives for solutions and supports undocumented young people in getting an education, pursuing careers, and building a brighter future for themselves and their communities. The organization’s personal storytelling project trains young people to reclaim and share personal stories in order to heal, strengthen community bonds, transform hearts and minds, and advance policy legislation. Read their stories here.

These DACA recipients hit a ceiling in the U.S. So they left. (Monica Campbell, “The World,” June 30, 2020)

Despite the legal protections accorded to DACA recipients, many hit limits in their personal and professional lives in the U.S. DACA does not offer a path to lawful permanent residence or U.S. citizenship. Some DACA recipients have concluded that without a legislative pathway to citizenship and without support to pursue or continue higher education, they may find greater opportunities and stability elsewhere. Leaving the U.S. has consequences, however. These individuals leave behind their families and communities. And by leaving the U.S. and seeking residency elsewhere in the world, DACA recipients may face a ban on returning to the country for up to 10 years — known as an “unlawful presence bar” — based on their years in the U.S. without authorization. Listen to their stories here.

Stories in Defense of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (compiled by NILC, 2017).

Most of us want a productive, hopefully meaningful life in which we do work that benefits not only ourselves, but also others — that makes our communities stronger and healthier. But many young people who grew up in the U.S. are facing the kind of uncertainty about their futures that for many of us would be almost paralyzing. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a government program that allows them to work with authorization and without constantly being in fear that they might be deported, is under threat of being terminated. We can’t let this happen. Here are some of these people’s stories.

Butterfly Story Collective

The Butterfly Story Collective is a network of local storytelling projects and events produced by immigrants and about the immigrant experience in the United States. Each project is locally produced by its participants, and can take various forms, including oral history, videos, live events, story circles, music, art installations, blogs, and podcasts, among others. Whatever the form, the practice that guides the collective is one of ethical storytelling, which puts people in control of how their own story is told. As a space to share resources, learn from one another and strengthen local relationships, the Butterfly Story Collective strives to create more intimate connections through the collective power of storytelling.

I Am Not My Status: An Undocumented Immigrant’s Perspective (TEDx Talks, May 19, 2017)

Ernesto Rocha shares his experience growing up in the U.S., navigating through college as an undocumented student, and how these experiences shaped and even helped him challenge his identity.

Hearing on Protecting Dreamers and TPS Recipients (March 6, 2019)

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary hearing in which the following witnesses spoke: Andrew R. Arthur, Resident Fellow in Law and Policy, Center for Immigration Studies; Bishop Mario Dorsonville, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Washington; Donald E. Graham, Chairman of the Board, Graham Holdings Company, Co-Founder, TheDream.US; Yazmin Irazoqui-Ruiz, DACA recipient, University of New Mexico medical student; Yatta Kiazolu, DED recipient, UCLA PhD candidate; José Palma, TPS recipient, National Coordinator of the National TPS Alliance; Jin Park, DACA recipient, Harvard University undergraduate student, Rhodes Scholar; Hilario Yanez, DACA recipient, University of Houston graduate.

“We ARE Americans” Profiles Undocumented Students (National Public Radio, August 22, 2009).

Guy Raz, host of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” interviews Nora Preciado, National Immigration Law Center staff attorney, and William Perez, associate professor of education at Claremont Graduate University and author of the book We ARE Americans. Nora, one of twenty students featured in the book, recounts her journey from undocumented immigrant student to immigration attorney. Professor Perez, who surveyed 180 students with stories like Nora’s for his book, discusses the roadblocks these students face as they attempt to pursue a higher education.