The United States Department of Education has announced new guidelines in an effort to give undocumented students a high-quality education that will prepare them for college and life beyond.
The 63-page guide was released by the Obama administration as a tool to help educators, administrators and others learn how best to serve the illegal immigrant student population across the country. The guide takes into account the rights of these students, offering tips on how to meet their needs.
“Embrace and value diversity and the cultural backgrounds of all students. Teachers (and other educational personnel) who serve immigrant students should understand the cultural and educational backgrounds of their students,” reads one tip for educators.
The manual also discusses how institutions of higher education can best serve undocumented students.
“Develop services and resources that specifically support undocumented students. Case studies of undocumented youth in higher education have highlighted lingering feelings of stigma and fear related to their status, as well as instances of discrimination on campuses,” another tip advises such institutions.
Although illegal immigrants cannot receive federal financial aid, a good portion of the guide is geared toward cutting costs for college education – specifically, the focus is put on what kinds of institutions offer tuition benefits for undocumented students and which states they are available in, as well as offering a list of scholarships that they may apply for.
The manual notes that of the 80,000 illegal immigrants who turn 18 each year, 65,000 will graduate high school. However, only 5-10% will go on to enter institutes of higher education, with even less successfully completing a degree program. The manual says that only 54% will obtain a high school diploma in comparison to 82% of native-born Americans.
The guide also offers information to those students who participate in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Implemented in 2012 by President Obama, the executive amnesty program offers certain illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children protection from deportation, reports Caroline May for Breitbart.
Since the program began, DACA has protected over 680,000 immigrants from being deported. According to the Obama administration, an additional 400,000 children are expected to be eligible for the program in the next few years.
The guidelines were released just as many states across the nation are pushing legislation through to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to attend school.
However, a letter written by Education Secretary Arne Duncan accompanying the guide stresses that the recent decision by the US Supreme Court in the Plyer vs. Doe case announced that all school districts throughout the country are required by federal law to offer all children access to the public education system whether or not they are US citizens.