Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Protecting the Dreams of Immigrant Students

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Protecting the Dreams of Immigrant Students

Article excerpt

June is Immigration Heritage Month. It's a time to celebrate American diversity, to celebrate the stories of those--like my mother and my grandparents--who came to this country and worked hard to succeed here and to admire the bravery and perseverance of today's immigrants, striving to achieve the American Dream.

It's also time to redouble our efforts to support the roughly 700,000 young people, called Dreamers, who were brought to America as children and are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It's a program the Trump administration is trying to end.

Three federal courts have prevented the administration from stopping the program, and the Supreme Court earlier this year let those rulings stand. But Congress and the administration have been unable to reach an agreement on its future, and a new case in Texas threatens to bring DACA back to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, student recipients are stuck in limbo--protected for now but uncertain how long that will last and, even worse, ineligible for federal financial aid programs. State and college-based aid programs vary.

At Pace, we are, as we always have been, dedicated to providing access to the power of education for students from all backgrounds. We value immigrant students, and we provide them financial aid--including merit-based aid to Dreamers.

At a time when other countries are increasing their R&D spending and investing more and more in STEM students, many Dreamers are highly educated, ambitious young people who are interested in these fields. They inject talent and entrepreneurialism into today's job market. They help expand our economy--on the whole, immigrants don't take jobs

away, because it's not a zero-sum question. They keep the United States internationally competitive. And while international students earn nearly half of U.S. engineering and computer science degrees, those numbers are shrinking. We need to make these students more welcome, not less.

Beyond that, in a time when business is global, a student body composed of many cultures and nationalities helps all students learn how to operate in a global economy. This kind of exposure and understanding is a central part of education today. Even if a student graduating into the workforce this spring doesn't leave the United States for the rest of their life, they'll still have to deal with international customers, international vendors, or the global supply chain at some point in their careers. Immigrants help prepare fellow students for today's workplace. …

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