Achieving the DREAM: Recommendations for working with Undocumented Students in the United States
Presenter: Miguel Hernandez
Institution: Florida State University
Professional Title: Associate Director of the Center for Leadership and Social Change
Miguel serves as the Associate Director for the Center for Leadership & Social Change. In this role he coordinates programs focused on diversity & inclusion, facilitates social justice training and assists students in addressing discrimination on campus. Additional professional involvement include serving as a member of the: Board of Directors for the FSU National Black Alumni; Florida Cultural & Linguistic Competency Committee; City of Tallahassee Human Relations Committee; and the FSU President’s Diversity & Inclusion Council. Miguel is a native of Puerto Rico and is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Higher Education at Florida State.
Presenter: Juan Escalante
Institution: Florida State University
Professional Title: Researcher at Florida Center for Reading Research
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Juan Escalante arrived with his family to the United States in the year 2000. Raised in South Florida, Escalante became undocumented in 2006 after the family’s lawyer failed to provide proper counsel. After graduating from with honors from high school in 2007, Juan took an interest in political advocacy and direct action. After enrolling in Broward College in 2008, his involvement led to the development of a variety of projects that helped highlight the plight of undocumented immigrants, particularly those who sought to enroll at institutions of higher education, as well as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act – a Congressional bill that would allow for undocumented youth to obtain legal status via military service or higher education. Currently, Escalante is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University. The first in his family to have graduated from college, Escalante is expected to complete his second degree this upcoming August. Escalante remains a fierce advocate for immigrant rights, even as a recent beneficiary of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. He has been interview by Univision’s Jorge Ramos, and his work has been profiled by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, CNN, as well as a variety of national and state publications.
Immigration continues to be a highly visible and much discussed subject. However, what is often left out of the debate is the impact that immigration policies, or lack of thereof, have on undocumented students. Children of undocumented immigrants are consistently graduating from the United State’s public education system, yet they are not afforded a clear path into the realm of higher education. Despite efforts to enact federal legislation such as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, many undocumented students continue to face obstacles such as lack of scholarship, increased tuition levels, or bans from public universities and colleges. The intersection between immigration and higher education became even more prevalent in 2012, after President Barack Obama directed the Department of Homeland Security to allow certain undocumented immigrants to obtain temporary relief. This program has since prompted undocumented students to seek measures that would allow them to enroll at local colleges or universities. This presentation aims to provide an overview of current federal and state laws regarding access to higher education for undocumented students. The facilitators will also discuss higher education policies and practices that impact the retention and completion rates of undocumented students. Finally, various resources designed to assist undocumented students and allies in navigating the pathways to and through higher education will be highlighted.
- become familiar with current federal and state laws regarding access to higher education for undocumented students in the U.S.
- review higher education policies and practices that impact the retention and completion rates of undocumented students.
- identify resources available to undocumented students and allies