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TheDream.US Report Highlights How COVID-19 Has Disproportionately Affected Immigrant Scholars

TheDream.US, the nation’s largest scholarship program for immigrant youth, recently released a new survey report on its scholars’ college experience titled, “In Their Own Words.” A section of the survey, conducted from May to mid-June via e-mail, was dedicated to how COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the scholars’ jobs, finances and family.

The survey of 3,850 scholars garnered responses from 2,681 students and was conducted amid the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reject the Trump Administration’s attempt to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration (DACA) policy, as well as the killing of George Floyd on May 25 and the heightened Black Lives Matter movement across the country.

“One factor is certainly the incredible impact of COVID-19 — on not just undocumented immigrants but their families,” said Hyein Lee, director of measurement and evaluation at TheDream.US. “A lot of the findings do speak to the fact that we’re not just talking about individuals who lost jobs. Oftentimes it’s mixed with families being undocumented” and now having loss of income.

According to the survey, scholars who worked decreased from 70% prior to COVID-19 to 43% post COVID-19. Of those currently working, 52% of the scholars are “essential” or “frontline” workers, which speaks to the population of DACA-recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and undocumented immigrants working in high-risk, high-contact roles during the pandemic.

Diego Dulanto is a junior studying psychology at the University of South Florida (USF). As a DACA-recipient and a TheDream.US scholar, he said the survey deeply resonated with him.

“I’m one of the students that’s on the front lines. I’m one of those students planning to go to grad school. I’m also one of those students dealing with financial loss because of COVID-19,” said Dulanto.

In fact, he and his parents are custodians. During the height of the pandemic, however, many of the buildings they worked in were closed either temporarily or permanently. For that reason, they weren’t sure if they’d be able to pay rent. Though the stimulus check helped somewhat, Dulanto says they are still struggling to stay afloat.


Read the article here