Education Policy

DACA Student Access to Education

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) provides critical access to higher education for undocumented immigrant students.

  • DACA has enabled over 750,000 undocumented young people to access higher education and work opportunities since 2012.
  • More than 200,000 DACA recipients live, work, and serve communities in the Southern states where IDRA focuses its work.
  • Over 20,000 teachers and school counselors across the country hold DACA work permits and educate and support students every day.

See IDRA’s statement released April 13, 2022: IDRA Denounces Court Ruling Jeopardizing Texas’ Dream Act

See IDRA’s statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 18, 2020: IDRA Lauds Supreme Court Decision to Keep DACA Alive, Urges Schools to Affirm Immigrant Rights  

See a 2017 statement to congressional leaders by the Texas Latino Education Coalition, Support for a clean Dream Act

See an article by Dr. Sofia Bahena, Supporting Undocumented Youth through Community Engagement, IDRA Newsletter, June-July 2015

CARES Act Relief for Students

The Trump administration decided to exclude many immigrants from CARES Act higher education funding. Despite paying taxes, undocumented college students cannot access federal financial aid or many types of other aid. “If these students are not supported, entire communities suffer. If they are not able to pursue their education and meet their life needs now, there will be tragic long-term consequences for their families, the economy and our collective ability to rebound from the global pandemic.”

See an op-ed by IDRA president, Celina Moreno, for the San Antonio Express-News, Commentary: Not aiding DACA students merciless, May 14, 2020 

Videos for families: Ventanilla de Orientación Educativa (VOE) Virtual

IDRA’s webinar series provides information to immigrant families while the Consulate General of Mexico in San Antonio is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sample topics are below:

The U.S. Constitution Requires K-12 Schools to Serve Immigrant Children

K-12 public schools, by law, must serve all children. The education of undocumented students is guaranteed by the Plyler vs. Doe Supreme Court decision, and certain procedures must be followed when registering immigrant children in school to avoid violation of their civil rights.

IDRA provided expert testimony in the Plyler vs. Doe case. We also worked with policymakers and advocates to fend off efforts to adopt policies that were designed to discourage immigrant student enrollment.

See our bilingual Infographic – Welcoming Immigrant Students in School

See our bilingual eBook on Supporting Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools

See IDRA’s dedicated webpage for more K-12 resources: Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools.

Statement: Court Decision on the “Public Charge” Rule Leaves Schools to Fill Gaps to Address Children’s Hunger, Housing Insecurity and Other Needs that Affect their Learning, January 27, 2020. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a dangerous decision to uphold the Trump Administration’s changes to the “public charge” rule, now making it more difficult for authorized immigrant residents to gain legal visas, permanent residency (green cards) and citizenship.