According to Homeland Security, the estimated total of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. is between 8-12 million people. California alone is home to around 2 million; that’s 1 in 5 of all undocumented immigrants living in the Golden State. With that large number of people living in the United States, one might think that our government would want to provide support for our undocumented neighbors.
Many undocumented immigrants, specifically undocumented students, face many challenges as they move through the education system in the U.S. Many undocumented students fear that they could get separated from their families due to deportation when at school.
This issue has caught the eye of some very important people. The Sacramento City Unified School District recently declared their schools as safe havens. That means that students are allowed on campus without fear of federal agencies like ICE from entering school premises in search of undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented students also lack the accessibility to federal financial aid, making college harder to attend. State-level financial aid is available, though many undocumented students find it fearful to share very personal information with the government.
“I was lucky to be able to be born in the U.S. but for friends and family, a lot of them are undocumented,” said Angel Perez, a soon-to-be college student. “I will be going to college in the fall but I know some of my friends aren’t due to a lack of federal help.”
In California, there is a new rising wave of support for undocumented students that continues to grow. Free legal services at most UC campuses are offered through support from the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, and in-state tuition support at public universities through Assembly Bill 540.
One of the many topics that Californians are pushing for is keeping the public-at-large, specifically undocumented students, aware of the information on how to keep moving forward in the education system as an immigrant. It is also on the forefront of many resident’s minds to help students from the constant pressures that surround them.