Importance Of Education For Undocumented Immigrants

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For its reputation as the “land of opportunity,” America has made the path to finding that opportunity remarkably unclear for its immigrant populations. Most Americans would agree that some level of education is necessary for success or eminence, with higher education usually leading to more career opportunities and connections. However, state and federal policies concerning benefits have historically made education difficult to access for undocumented immigrants. Some argue that the United States has no obligation to its undocumented populations, pointing out the illegality of their presence, but regardless of an individual’s citizenship status, the fact that he lives in and thus contributes to American society cannot be ignored. Whether …show more content…
Nevertheless, America benefits from educating its immigrant population; the access we have offered so far is not enough. In 1982, the class action suit Plyler v. Doe ruled that “a state cannot prevent children of undocumented immigrants from attending public school,” challenging a 1975 Texas education code that forbade the use of state funds toward “the education of children who had not been legally admitted to the U.S.” Until this point, Texas had not provided funding for educating unauthorized immigrants, with some regions of the state charging immigrants a $1000 tuition fee for their children to attend school. The Supreme Court argued that these types of limitations on education were unconstitutional and violated the Equal Protection Clause, but the 5-4 ruling, with key dissenters such as Chief Justice Burger, Sandra Day O’Connor, and William Rehnquist, indicates controversy rather …show more content…
Doe protects the right of undocumented immigrants to K-12 education, achieving higher education presents even more challenges. The Center for American Progress explains that, despite the rising cost of acquiring a college degree, undocumented immigrants “are still prohibited from accessing all forms of federal education benefits,” noting that many do not qualify for in-state tuition in their home states. While they can technically attend college in America, unauthorized immigrants do not have even state schools as a feasible option because they do not qualify for in-state tuition. This option is not a real option. UCLA’s Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education highlighted the tenuous nature of an unauthorized immigrant’s college education in their 2015 study “In the Shadows of the Ivory Tower.” According to their surveys, 90.3% of undocumented undergraduates came from households with an annual income below $50,000. While the average student had lived in the US for 14.8 years, a majority of their life, over 75% “reported worries about being detained or deported.” These concerns lead to 28.5% of male and 36.7% of female participants reporting anxiety levels “above a clinical cutoff level,” which makes succeeding academically even more difficult. The lack of tuition equity, federal funding, or a system of mentorship leaves college students virtually alone for funding their education. It may be true that public K-12

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