Undocumented Students in Higher Education: How Many Students are in U.S. Colleges and Universities, and Who Are They?
New American Economy
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As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether to maintain Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the question around what the undocumented population in America looks like looms large. Research indicates that undocumented immigrants, including DACA recipients, are integral parts of their communities, paying taxes, starting businesses, and serving in key industries facing labor shortages. This report reveals that hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are students enrolled in higher education, working to obtain degrees and going on to use those skills as significant contributors to our economy. Before now, there has never been a full analysis of how many undocumented students are pursuing higher education in the U.S. The findings in this report show impressive participation rates. The findings also establish a new and expansive definition of undocumented students by fully accounting for both immigrant youth and adult learners who are striving to pursue higher education.