Latino Immigrant Access to Higher Education in a Bipolar Policy Environment
Flores, Stella M.
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For many years, U.S. policy toward undocumented immigrants has been bipolar –it has had aspects that simultaneously help and hinder their life chances. Access to higher education provides one example. An estimated 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school in the United States each year. Since 2001, a number of states have passed legislation designed to increase the college access rates of undocumented students via in-state resident tuition policies provided they meet basic graduation and residency requirements. Yet these state laws are a response to a 1996 federal law that was intended to bar the access of these students to public higher education. This paper assesses the recent political context in which undocumented immigrants have entered into the United States, their locations of residence, and estimations of where they are most likely to utilize public policies that encourage college enrollment. The authors conclude with comparisons of these populations by citizenship status and provide implications for the general educational mobility of Latinos in the United States.