Sharing information and resources with undocumented youth and their families

February 9, 2016
  • AACRAO Connect
  • Compliance and Reporting

In an effort to assist members in integrating their policies with new federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recommendations, AACRAO is conducting a multi-part series on the recently released DACA resource guide. The guide, designed for educators and community organizations as well as youth and their families, includes an overview of the rights of undocumented students, tips for educators on how to support undocumented youth in high school and college, as well as tips and examples for addressing the needs of undocumented students in higher education. 

This article will continue that series by focusing on Tip 3: "Share Information and Resources with Youth and Families." (For previous articles, see: "Building staff capacity to support undocumented youth," "Creating an open and welcoming environment for undocumented youth," and "How one college is improving services to undocumented youth."

When it comes to providing youth and their families information and resources, federal guidelines recommend institutions are bold in their policies and communications.

Some proposed examples for institutions include:

  • Highlight the opportunities that exist to help undocumented youth access postsecondary education
  • Help to connect undocumented youth and their families to community resources and stakeholder organizations for more support.
  • Share information with undocumented youth and families about DACA consideration and renewal and support students’ requests for education records.

The USDOE DACA Guide mentions the Yates Community Center of Omaha, Nebraska, as an example of how programs can seek to achieve these goals. The Center, which had over 600 participants in educational programs last year, is funded by the Omaha Public School system, as well as through state, federal and nonprofit sources.

The center provides English, sewing, computer and citizenship classes, a food pantry, clothing donations, and access to the K-12 program. By partnering with such programs, colleges and universities can help ensure that all students and their families have the resources they need to be successful members of the community, in addition to applying for access to higher education. 

Legal limbo

Institutions will need to wait until June to know if new DACA regulations will be instated. Arguments over the legality of the Presidents 2014 Immigration Accountability Executive Action will be heard by the Supreme Court in April. The action reforms and expands various administrative policies related to DACA and the partner Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) criteria and has been enjoined pending the outcome of Texas v. United States since 2015.

If enacted, these initiatives could provide relief from deportation for as many as 5million immigrants. The administration also projects increases U.S. gross domestic product, increased tax revenue, and raised wages as outcomes of this endeavor. Texas and 25 other states have filed suit to block this policy expansion, citing increased state financial burdens.  Fifteen states and the District of Columbia, plus 73 U.S. mayors and county officials have filed in support of the Administration’s policies. 

Given the timing of the Supreme Courts expected ruling, institutions need to be prepared for any possible outcome beginning at the start of the 2016 term. The original DACA is still in effect during the lawsuit, which only pertains to the policies proscribed by the Presidents Immigration Accountability Executive Action.