NOTE: IS POSTSECONDARY ACCESS FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS AN IMPORTANT RIGHT? HOW THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE DIFFER Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2009 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal
Georgetown Immigration Law Journal

NOTE: IS POSTSECONDARY ACCESS FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS AN IMPORTANT RIGHT? HOW THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE DIFFER

Winter, 2009

Georgetown Immigration Law Journal

23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 403

Author

BRETT COVINGTON *

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

Many of the undocumented students choose to follow their families into the fields for a living, or settle for other low-paying menial types of labor. Some I believe, harbor the secret desire to achieve the American dream. 1

Today, there are an estimated 10.7 million undocumented immigrants 2 living in the United States, 3 with approximately 1.5 million school-aged undocumented children. 4 Most undocumented immigrants 5 cross the U.S.- Mexico border or overstay temporary visas. 6 In California, it is estimated that 15% of students enrolled in K-12 public schools are undocumented. 7 In Texas, more than 10% of its total students are undocumented. 8 Only a small proportion of these attend college. 9

The right to education for undocumented immigrants traces back to 1982, when the United States Supreme Court held that undocumented immigrants are entitled to K-12 public education. 10 However, the Court did not extend this right to college ("postsecondary education") or other benefits. 11 Since the landmark decision, Congress has passed legislation that limits undocumented students' ability to obtain tuition benefits for postsecondary education. 12 Ten states 13 have responded and passed legislation that allows undocumented students to obtain in-state tuition in certain circumstances. These states have awarded in-state tuition to undocumented students so long as the status is not based on residency. The two principal methods followed are the Texas and California approaches. Under the California method, undocumented students qualify for in-state tuition if they: (1) ...
 
 
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