For Immediate Release: March 2, 2020
Contact: Michael Earls: [email protected]
Gaby Pacheco of TheDream.US in Forbes: Support DREAMers’ Access to Higher Education and Meaningful Careers
Washington, DC – Ahead of the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the popular and successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a new Forbes column by Gaby Pacheco makes the case for why all Americans should support DREAMers’ access to higher education and meaningful careers, “knowing that what’s good for our youth and, in particular, this population is good for our nation.” Pacheco is Program Director for Advocacy, Development, and Communications for TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth.
Titled, “We Should Make College Accessible For All Students,” the Forbes column by Gaby Pacheco is available in full online here and is excerpted below:
“…there remain barriers to entry for many qualified students when it comes to their post-high school education. From the costs and debt load of affording a degree to a lack of accessibility for certain segments of high school graduates, we still have work to do to make higher education an opportunity for all of our society.
At TheDream.US, the nation’s largest scholarship program for immigrant youth, we recognize that these barriers can be especially acute for DREAMers—undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. Each year, approximately 98,000 DREAMers graduate from U.S. high schools. But despite many track records of scholastic success in our K-12 system, they face obstacles to attending and affording college.
DREAMers have grown up in this country, with our Scholars’ average age of arrival to the U.S. just four years old. Yet they are ineligible to access Pell Grants, federal work study, or other federal education loans and many states have barriers to in-state tuition and state financial aid.
…In order to remain responsive to DREAMers’ changing needs, we are expanding our eligibility for Scholars as well as broadening our focus to encompass our Scholars’ post-graduate needs. Here’s why:
Originally, we limited our eligibility to applicants with active Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, referring to the popular program started in 2012 that provided nearly 800,000 DREAMers with temporary and renewable protections from deportation and work permits.
DACA has benefited not only hundreds of thousands of DREAMers, but America as a whole. Tens of thousands of DACA recipients are working as doctors, nurses, and teachers and valued employees of some of the most successful companies in America. But the future of DACA is uncertain due to the Trump administration’s efforts to end the program—to be decided by the Supreme Court ruling in 2020—and the continued inability of Congress to enact a legislative replacement.
Recognizing that a younger cohort of DREAMers have not been able to join the DACA program in recent years, our scholarship round for the 2020-2021 academic year expands eligibility, opening applications to any immigrant youth who came to the U.S. before November 1, 2014.
Meanwhile, we are redoubling efforts to ensure that employers have the facts about hiring DREAMers and know this is an incredible talent pool. We understand that some employers, without the right information, might be confused or reluctant to hire a DACA employee given the uncertainty. But even if the Supreme Court rules that the Trump administration ended DACA lawfully, DREAMers will be able to continue to work until their DACA status expires—and hundreds of thousands have renewed DACA in recent years.
…We encourage others to join us in supporting DREAMers’ access to both higher education and meaningful careers, knowing that what’s good for our youth and, in particular, this population is good for our nation.”
TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided more than 5,000 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC. The organization believes that all young people, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to get a college education and contribute to the country that they call home. Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here