Some Universities Stepping Up To Support Undocumented Students

A university in the Chicago metropolitan area is taking a stance on discrimination against illegal immigrants.

Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois has started to enroll illegal immigrants and assist them with completing college as part as their mission. Because the students are qualified, school President Donna Carroll told USAToday there was never any issue with turning down the prospects.

“Is it controversial? Yes,” Carroll said. “But it’s against the law to discriminate against any student group. You need to start from that premise.”

Carroll added that despite withdrawal from alumni and donors, the school put together $274,000 to assist 17 undocumented students with financial aid this year.

According to a 2009 report by the College Board, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from United States high schools annually. With that large number, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities predicts that only about five to 10 percent move on to attend college.

The DREAM Act has been widely reported, with President Obama as recently as last week urging Congress to pass the legislation. The DREAM Act, also known as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, will allow children of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record U.S. citizenship if they attend college or the military after they graduate high school.

Although the DREAM Act passed the House in 2010, it was denied by the Senate with a 55 to 41 vote.

Until the decision on the DREAM Act is made, Jessica Hyejin Lee, 20, an undocumented student from South Korea and co-founder of Students for Undocumented Dreams and Decision Equity Now, continues to work on a campaign that encourages schools to begin assisting
undocumented students with financial aid.

“Our most important goal is to empower and liberate undocumented students, so we can come out of the shadows,” she told USAToday.