Immigration: Undocumented Students in Higher Education
In the United States today, many undocumented students, bright, talented, and motivated young men and women who were brought into this country by parents without the authorization of the federal government or who entered the U.S. legally but overstayed their visas, find themselves prevented from developing their full potential, limited in their ability to contribute to the civic life of their surroundings, and living in fear of being deported.
On February 26th, findings of “Immigration: Undocumented Students in Higher Education” a major national study of undocumented students at Jesuit colleges and universities will be unveiled and discussed in Washington, DC.
This is a major, multi-year Ford Foundation-funded study to understand the issues and complex lives of undocumented students in higher education, with a focus on the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. The three lead Jesuit institutions – Fairfield, Santa Clara, and Loyola University Chicago – each partnered with another Jesuit university in their region, doing in-depth interviews with students, staff, and community advocates.
Researchers found some undocumented students dream of becoming teachers, accountants, nurses, doctors, and engineers. However, those professions are off limits because they require certifications that undocumented students are unable to obtain. Some shared that they feel disconnected from campus life.
The research aims to:
- present a way of proceeding on immigration that informs and helps shape the national educational discourse
- improve institutional practices for undocumented students at Jesuit institutions nationwide
- explore the obstacles, needs, and desires of impacted students, and provide them with a more fulfilling educational experience
- make a substantive contribution to the common good of the nation from a principled Catholic perspective
- suggest a new model of leadership in the area of serving undocumented students in higher education
The event will bring together Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) presidents, faculty, and administrators; national legislators; and students. There will be an opportunity to talk one-on-one with speakers and researchers following the event, including students. In a gesture of solidarity, a group of AJCU presidents have signed a moral statement to work together to help undocumented students. We anticipate that many of the presidents who signed it will also attend the event. Please see the AJCU Presidents’ Statement: http://www.fairfield.edu/documents/academic/cfpl_immigration_statement_2.pdf
UPDATE! Media stories covering the event:
- "In Helping Immigrant Students, Jesuit Colleges Hope to Lead the Way" - The Chronicle of Higher Education
- "Documenting the Undocumented" - Inside Higher Ed
- "Jesuit Universities Release Study on Undocumented Students in Higher Education" - National Jesuit News