For thousands of high school students who are graduating, this time of year is all about looking to the future — namely, preparing for college in the fall.
Their undocumented peers, however, might feel like they’re going backward.
That’s because the federal policy that has, for the past 10 years, given immigrant youth who lack permanent legal status in the U.S. the ability to work and pay for college has been effectively cut off.
This year marks the first time since 2012 that a majority of undocumented high schoolers who are graduating won’t be able to apply to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known simply as DACA, according to a new report from the immigrant advocacy group FWD.us.
In 2012, the DACA program was implemented by the Obama administration as temporary relief for young immigrants who grew up in the U.S. but face barriers to employment and higher education due to their legal status.
They’re part of what the report dubs the “post-DACA generation.”
People in this situation often identify as “undocumented,” referring to the fact that they don’t have official forms granting them permission to live in the country. FWD.us estimates that 120,000 undocumented students are graduating from high school this year. Only a fifth of them are eligible for DACA protection, as the rules are currently written.