For a lot young immigrants known as “Dreamers,” the cost and challenges of juggling jobs and family duties often prove to be insurmountable hurdles to earning a college degree.
In 2015, those young immigrants brought to the country by their parents were shielded from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It also allowed them to take advantage of discounted in-state tuition rates.
With the fate of DACA— canceled by President Donald Trump in 2017 — still tied up in the courts and Congress seemingly no closer to a fix, renewed debate has cropped up in the states about what to do about the thousands of recipients who want to attend college.
Washington is among at least nine states that allows financial aid to eligible students without legal status. But in Arizona, a recent decision by that state’s Supreme Court makes DACA youth who live in the state pay out-of-state tuition prices. More than ten other states have passed similar laws.
Now more than ever, the Dreamers need our support. We must provide more avenues of support to the undocumented who are living, working, paying into our tax system, and trying to better their lives through education.
An educated society is a stronger society.
A 2013 study by the Economic Policy Institute showed a strong connection between education and income.
A college degree not only increases one’s skills and productivity, but signals to employers that the individual is motivated and completes tasks. A more educated individual is more likely to participate in the job market, to have a job, to work more hours, and to be paid more, and less likely to be unemployed.
Higher levels of education also correspond to improved health and lower rates of mortality, and lower rates of crime — a win-win for all, not just Dreamers.
It wasn’t their fault that they were brought in illegally by their parents. And those who are trying to better themselves should be applauded, not penalized.