Essay Sample on Immigrant and Undocumented Youth in Higher Education

Published: 2023-03-14
Essay Sample on Immigrant and Undocumented Youth in Higher Education
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  University Immigration
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 874 words
8 min read

The rise of undocumented students in the higher education of the United States is gaining attention in the world today. The immigrant youths, as Murillo (2017) argued, have to deal with the challenges of accessing higher education, which is a complicated situation due to their non-citizen status, institutional policies, and the different levels of campus support. Primarily, undocumented students have benefited from the existing multicultural programs and resources. Such programs and resources were created following the increased awareness of the need to understand and support the changing demographics in campuses.

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Notably, the Supreme Court, in the year 1982, made a ruling that guaranteed free and equal access to education for undocumented and immigrant children (Nicholls & Fiorito, 2015). The verdict prompted undocumented students and immigration advocates to rally for a comprehensive immigration reform plan. Mainly, this allowed for the formation of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien minors (DREAM) act that provided a passageway to offering citizenship to the undocumented youths in the country (Nicholls & Fiorito, 2015). However, the act versions have not yet been passed, and undocumented persons and advocates continue to fight for legal protections that would allow smooth education pursuit.

Since the year 2006 to 2011, a total number of 304, 678 immigrants were identified as potentially removable persons from the United States grounds (Amuedo-Dorantes & Puttitanun, 2018). In the year 2012, the federal government issued an executive order that offered relief for immigrants and undocumented persons called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA did not provide a passageway to allow for citizenship, but over 800,000 persons have acquired protections from deportation and have had access to state identification and social security number. However, under the presidency of Trump, undocumented, and immigrants persons in higher educations are facing an upsurge in the threats to immigration policies. The White House, for instance, announced that no applications and renewals would be accepted under the DACA program. The announcement will affect the majority of the students in higher education since most of them will likely lose their DACA benefits. More so, it has increased fear of vulnerability, isolation, and the thought of not contributing to a country that most people consider home.

From the sections above, it is clear that immigration policies are mainly changing. Such variances have had a substantial effect on the access to higher education for undocumented students. It is worth noting that no law in the federal and state governments inhibit or restrict the admission of undocumented persons to colleges and universities (Murillo, 2017). Such students have the burden of costs, mainly due to the ineligibility to acquire federal assistance, work-study, and various kinds of grants. Some states in the United States have taken matters into their own hands by passing laws that reduce financial burdens for the undocumented and immigrant students.

Accordingly, how colleges are receptive to undocumented students influence the choice of immigrants significantly. Undocumented learners often look for universities and institutions that will provide affordable and safe learning spaces. Putting an end to DACA, as already described, has created a future that cannot be predicted or foreseen, which leaves institutions and educators in a critical position. It is worth noting that tutors are burdened with the tasks of protecting the constitutional rights of the learners while also empowering them to continue with their education. Most of the learning institutions have the power to be reliable sources of stability and comfort to the undocumented immigrants and their families.

Lastly, Rodriguez (2017) highlighted the need to consider the social and psychological conditions affecting immigrants and undocumented students in higher education. Notably, undocumented immigrant families often face regular economic, social, and legal challenges that could erode the learners' wellbeing. The fact that the immigrants lack the required documentation exposes them to job insecurity, reduced wages, and labor-intensive work, which creates an immense struggle for the victims to protect and provide for their families. Also worth noting is the fact that undocumented students do not enjoy programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, which further burdens the persons in this group. From this, one can see that undocumented people in the United States lack control over their circumstances.

To conclude, undocumented and immigrant students in higher education are increasing in number. However, various threats and intimidation from the Trump presidency have made it challenging to enjoy some of the benefits, such as educational grants and free access to medical care, to mention a few. Such factors have made life challenging for these people. However, some states have come up with policies aimed at assisting undocumented students to ensure that they can access equal education that would later improve their present situations.


Amuedo-Dorantes, C., & Puttitanun, T. (2018). Undocumented youth in limbo: the impact of America's immigration enforcement policy on juvenile deportations. Journal of Population Economics, 31(2), 597-626.

Murillo, M. A. (2017). The Art of the Reveal: Undocumented High School Students, Institutional Agents, and the Disclosure of Legal Status. High School Journal, 100(2), 88-108.

Nicholls, W. J., & Fiorito, T. (2015). Dreamers Unbound: Immigrant Youth Mobilizing. New Labor Forum (Sage Publications Inc.), 24(1), 86-92.

Rodriguez, S. (2017). "People Hide, But I'm Here. I Count:" Examining Undocumented Youth Identity Formation in an Urban Community-School. Educational Studies, 53(5), 468-491.

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