Serving the Undocumented Student Population


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IACAC Summer Institute 2012
Roberto Suarez

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Serving the Undocumented Student Population

  1. 1. DREAMers:Serving the Undocumented Student Population Presented by Roberto Suarez Guidance Counselor Homewood-Flossmoor High School Email: rsuarez@hf233.orgWebsite: IACAC Summer Institute July 24, 2012
  2. 2. About MeRoberto Suarez is a Guidance Counselor at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. His previous positions were held at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, where he counseled gifted students in a residential setting, and Lewis University, where he served as an Assistant Director of Admission and recruited high school students from districts within the Chicagoland areas and from abroad.Roberto is a first generation college graduate who has worked in the fields of education, business, law, and public relations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology, along with master degrees in business administration and school counseling. Currently, Roberto is enrolled in the educational doctorate program at DePaul University. Over the past several years, Roberto has presented on topics regarding undocumented students, multicultural counseling, counseling gifted students, writing letters of recommendation, and organizational leadership.
  3. 3. Immigration: E Pluribus Unum “America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity.” – James MadisonJoseph Pulitzer (1868) Albert Einstein (1940) Alexander Graham Bell (1915) Born in Hungary Born in Germany Born in Scotland
  4. 4. Why is this issue important? There are approximately 1.5 million undocumented students in the U.S. under the age of 18 (U.S. Census 2000) Approximately 50,000 to 70,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools each year (Center for Urban Economic Development, 2003) Approximately 3,500 undocumented students graduate from Chicago high schools each year (Center for Urban Economic Development, 2003) 40% of all undocumented students live in California (CHIRLA) In 1997, U.S. acquired a $50 billion surplus from taxes paid by immigrants (National Academy of Sciences & National Research Council, 1997)
  5. 5. Green Cards and VisasAccording to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrantand Refugee Rights: Existing avenues for gaining legal status are fairly restrictive Generally, someone must be sponsored by a close relative who is already a citizen or resident or by an employer Even if a student has a close relative to sponsor them, they still will need to wait several years to reach their turn in line to apply Undocumented students are not considered “foreign students” and student visas are not available. If an undocumented student travels to their native country to apply for a visa, they may end up confined outside the U.S.
  6. 6. Undocumented Student UpdatesDREAM ActThe DREAM Act is a conditional bill that would allow for undocumented students to become permanent U.S. residents . It was most recently voted down in May 2011.Illinois DREAM ActSigned in August 2011, the IL DREAM Act is a privately funded account to hold donations for grants and scholarships for undocumented students. The commission is finalizing an application process and should be available to students of the class of 2013. Find more information at
  7. 7. Undocumented Student UpdatesObama Executive OrderIn June 2012, President Obama issued and executive order to allow DREAMers a chance at the American dream, even if it is temporary. He halted the deportation of at least 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children.Students need to provide documentation that they were in the U.S. before the age of 16. Find more information at Tuition Laws (11 states)Texas (2001) Oklahoma (2003) New Mexico (2005)California (2001) Kansas (2004) Nebraska (2006)New York (2002) Washington (2004) Wisconsin (2009)Utah (2002) Illinois (2004)
  8. 8. CounselingUndocumented Student Characteristics Will typically not share their situation without having a sense of trust first May not fully understand their situation or even know if they are considered undocumented or illegal Can sometimes feel a sense of anger toward their parents because of their decision Can sometimes feel a sense of anger toward their peers who are U.S. citizens because they feel they take their citizenship for granted Can display signs of depression, asocial, or even anti-social behavior because they feel helpless with their situation
  9. 9. AdvisingThe counselor should Build trust with students you suspect are undocumented before approaching the situation Allow the student to express their opinions and frustrations without placing personal judgment Encourage the student to visit your office as often as possible Connect the student(s) with support networks (e.g., churches, organizations, and advocates of their cause) Contact college representatives to advocate for as much financial assistance that is possible
  10. 10. AdvisingThe counselor should Encourage the student to stay in school to maintain eligibility for In-State tuition benefits and the DREAM Act Explain that a U.S. education is worth a lot of weight in other countries, which may open opportunities in their native country Communicate that a community college may be their best option Explain that they cannot be employed legally after college graduation in their field of study Communicate to the student that they may want to consider working with an immigration lawyer
  11. 11. In Memory ofBrisenia Flores
  12. 12. ResourcesCoalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles www.chirla.orgCollege Board www.collegeboard.orgIACAC (College Advising for Undocumented Students)Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights www.icirr.orgIllinois is Home Campaign www.illinoishome.orgLeague of United Latin American Citizens www.lulac.orgMexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund www.maldef.orgMasuda Funai www.masudafunai.comNational Immigration Law Center www.nilc.orgNational Association of College Admission Counseling www.nacacnet.orgPew Hispanic Center www.pewhispanic.orgThe Tomás Rivera Policy Institute
  13. 13. Questions