Elkhart County’s undocumented immigrants persist in face of obstacles to college
As a child growing up, Ana - though not fully aware what it meant to be an undocumented immigrant - had strict orders from her parents not to discuss the matter.
"Shhh, we don't talk about that in public," her parents would admonish.
Not until high school, when friends started getting driver's licenses - something off-limits to her - did the implications of being undocumented in the United States sink in. She decided she needed to be more proactive and formed a group to lobby for passage of the DREAM Act, the federal proposal that would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrant students.
It's already bad enough for Latino students in the U.S., regardless of their migratory status.
A smaller percentage of Latinos earn high school degrees or finish college compared to their Anglo counterparts, according to Henry Fernandez. He's an honorary board member of Excelencia in Education, a national nonprofit group that promotes education among Latinos, and was the keynote speaker at Friday's conference, organized by the Indiana Latino Higher Education Council.
The lower education levels lead to fewer Latinos owning their businesses or homes and, in turn, mean Latinos are set up to make much less money, Fernandez said. It doesn't help that school officials frequently zero in on Latinos as challenges to be addressed or overcome.
"They're seen as problems or deficiencies," Fernandez said. "They're not seen as assets, and we need to address that."
May 15, 2013Diverse Issues in Higher Education
May 15, 2013VOXXI
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