Barriers to Education for Immigrants and Non-citizens

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The topic of illegal immigration and non-citizens has always been up to debate among the people of the United States. With illegal immigration continuing to be an ongoing issue it has also affected the program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals also known as DACA. The program has been on the edge of being terminated due to our political representatives arguing to end it because of the stigma of being an illegal immigrant or a non-citizen. To this matter, DACA students who are attending school are on the verge of having their education taken away. Being a non-citizen student affects the aspiration to achieve a higher education; it becomes difficult and comes with a lot more challenges than a typical student pursuing education.

For many undocumented students, they took advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This program specializes in helping non-citizen students obtaining a stay for a temporary time, created by former President Obama in 2012 to help immigrant students pursue an education. In order for an individual to qualify one must have arrived in the U.S before the age of sixteen; be currently enrolled in school or in the armed forces or have already completed high school. This gave the opportunity for many immigrant students to go beyond their expectations, allowing many to obtain residency for a temporary time (Renewal every 2 years.) and even holding jobs. The program has helped many non-citizen students obtain a higher education, which provides them with a stable career.

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With the inauguration of President Donald Trump many fear from being deported along with their education being at stake. For non-citizen students, they could be deported due to entering “illegally” being a “crime”; leaving their education accomplishments behind. Donald Trump has also made it clear where he stands, stating that his administration will withhold federal funds from any local government that refuses to hand over undocumented immigrants in its custody. Furthermore, Trump has vowed to remove all of the protective executive orders that Obama put in place. This includes orders like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). For undocumented students that attend school are in fear due to the possibility of their school turning them in. DACA students also fear the possibility of their personal information being over turned to federal government, which is why many remain a low profile or don’t want to enroll into colleges. Not only is this mentally interfering with them, but their education is almost an impossibility to reach.

Since becoming president, Donald Trump, has had a huge impact in the immigrant society of education, without DACA, eliminating this act would stop protection to individuals who contribute to the society, it increases productivity, and diversity. Though the program has had some disadvantages, the advantages beat the drawbacks, it is why we can’t eliminate this act. It is reported that wages of survey respondents have increased by an average of 42 percent since they received DACA. Not only are they financially able to be stable but they are able to contribute to state tax, which increases our economy growth. It is proven that DACA students have higher education percentage in earning a Bachelor’s degree. Not only does it show that non-immigrants students are able to succeed once they received educational benefits but with a higher education they are able to sustain a job that pays higher than the average minimum wage.

It is also reported from ITEP in March 2017, it found 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States, they had contributed more than $11.74 billion in state and local taxes. The report examined the state and local tax contributors of immigrants that are currently enrolled or immediately eligible for DACA. If Trump ends the program not only would the country be losing millions of dollars but it would make a huge impact in our society and our economy. While it is true that not all illegal immigrant pay taxes like all other good citizens, more than half of undocumented immigrants do contribute to taxes. It would be an understatement to say the least that non-citizen individuals and students don’t contribute to taxes. Instead they help the supply and demand system with local government services by paying sales and property taxes, many are unaware of this action. They contribute a drastic amount to our country while in return we limit their education. Many DACA students contribute to our society, but educational benefits still continue to be a barrier for them.

It has also been shown that for non-citizen students after receiving DACA, “69 percent of respondents reported moving to a job with better pay; 54 percent moved to a job that “better fits my education and training”; 54 percent moved to a job that “better fits my long-term career goals”; and 56 percent moved to a job with better working conditions”. The report has shown that DACA students were able to maneuver through the obstacles and were able to succeed with the help of the program.

Aspiration to reach a higher education for non-citizen students has become a barrier in the United States. Many non-citizen students face hardship due to not having the same rights and access as any other citizen student. While they don’t have many resources out there to help them with their educational goals, DACA, has helped make a difference in non-citizen students to obtain a form of education, and removing it will ambush the dreams that many non-citizen students have perceived. Education is key, providing access to educational resources will give many non-citizen students opportunities to succeed resulting in better jobs. Granting citizenship to non-citizen immigrants who are currently attending school would allow them to reach their educational goals to their full potential. Many of these students have worked so hard to reach to where they are at, eliminating DACA will only shortened the access to education and will only create more barriers and limits to what they are “allowed” too.

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Barriers to Education for Immigrants and Non-citizens. (2022, May 15). Retrieved from

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