The right to education is often seen as something unshakable and accessible to everyone. However, there may be situations when it becomes not so easy to implement it. In particular, this applies to illegal migrants. The importance of providing them with access to education is obvious because it is not only an effective tool for protecting freedom and human dignity but also a prerequisite for becoming a full member of society. Nevertheless, the implementation of this right for migrants in practice is often associated with some difficulties, the main of which is the lack of citizenship.
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Education, like nothing else, can open the door for refugees to participate fully in the life of their host country. For ordinary migrant workers and their children, the training provides knowledge about the society in which they will live, helps them develop their intellectual potential fully, and promotes social integration. The right to education implies the State’s obligation to ensure that everyone within their territory has access to the services and material resources necessary to acquire at least basic school skills.
In order to make it easier for these people to get an education, the DACA program was introduced. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was intended to allow children of illegal immigrants living in the United States to avoid deportation and obtain work permits. The duration of the program was two years with the right of further extension. However, it was noted that this program is a temporary action and not a path to citizenship.
The need for its introduction was justified because Congress could not pass legislation to solve immigrant children’s problems. Unfortunately, in 2017, DACA was stopped, and many students lost the opportunity to continue their education and received the status of “un-DACAmented”. Without it, students are denied access to financial aid or scholarships, and after receiving their degrees, they are not allowed to work and are not protected from deportation (PRX 1).
Thus, by closing the program, the government deprived young people of the opportunity to receive such an important aspect of socialization as education. Despite the difficulties, advocates for immigrant students say there is still hope. After the program was closed, many states began providing assistance for undocumented youth. In California, for example, they can access state financial aid and scholarships if they have completed high school within the state (PRX 2). In addition, while still at school, students can receive assistance from specialized centers and consultants.
In addition to introducing new programs, many states are introducing lower higher education tuitions for the children of immigrants. Despite the seemingly positive progress, it will not be so easy for students to achieve reduced fees. According to the article studied, in the state of Maryland, although the introduction of allowances for immigrants, it will not be as easy to get it. “Undocumented immigrants will receive in-state tuition if they attend a community college for two years before transferring to a four-year state college or university. Parents would have to pay state income taxes for five years and plan to become permanent residents” (States News Service 1).
Though, this initiative has many opponents who believe that the adoption of this law will increase the number of immigrants, which will negatively affect the residents of Maryland. After all, young people hope to see a better future with this law accepted, which will lead to them getting their citizenship in the United States.
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One of the oldest graduate programs globally, the Rhodes scholarship, stands for giving undocumented students an opportunity in higher education. The argument goes that it is because of their life experience that these young people have a unique opportunity to understand the problems facing the world, one of which is the migration of people (Park and Gerson 48). Despite the opposition from other educational organizations, Rhodes believes that it is necessary to meet the ambitions, talents, and huge potential to overcome, rather than citizenship. Programs for undocumented students such as The DreamHouse.US and The Golden Door Scholars are also cited as successful initiatives, which should serve as an example for other organizations (Park and Gerson 48).
For scholarship funds and financial programs, changing the criteria by which they accept students may be a minor change, but for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, this may mean the possibility of higher education or not.
When asking whether immigrants have the right to receive education in the United States of America, it is impossible to give a clear answer. Even though there are opponents who see this as a negative impact on indigenous people, some states, after abolishing DACA, try to support young people in every possible way. There are special programs and initiatives created for this purpose. After all, they deserve to receive an education like everyone else for further successful socialization in society. Given all of the above, it is extremely important to achieve universal recognition of the right of migrants to education as an inalienable human right and not just a task within the framework of State activities.
“A New Generation of ‘un-DACAmented’ High School Graduates Fights Hurdles to Higher Ed.” NWACC, upload by PRX, Inc. 2019. Web.
Park, Jin, and Elliot Gerson. “Scholarships Must Open Their Doors to Dreamers.” The Chronicie of Higher Education, no. 33, 2019, p. 48. EBSCOhost. Web.
States News Service. “Illegal Immigrants Offered Lower Tuition for Higher Education.” NWACC. 2012. Web.