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Undocumented Young People Pursue the American Dream

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March 05, 2018 01:48 pm


Nancy was born in Italy and brought to the United States at age five. She graduated from high school and received her bachelor’s degree from Towson University. She is one of more than 3 million Dreamers in communities across the country—undocumented young people who were brought to the United States as children. Like Nancy, less than one-quarter of them have been granted deferred action from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) implemented under the Obama Administration in 2012.

Watch Nancy tell her story via the video at the bottom of this post.

DACA was implemented to provide these young people an opportunity to remain in the United States to work lawfully, serve in the military, and attend college without the fear of deportation on a two-year renewable basis. Nearly one-third of the young people eligible for DACA in 2014 were enrolled in secondary school.

To apply for DACA, young people had to meet the following requirements:

  • be at least fifteen years old;
  • be younger than thirty-one years old as of June 15, 2012;
  • arrived in the United States before their sixteenth birthday;
  • continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007;
  • be currently enrolled in high school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or received an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces; and
  • have never been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors and do not pose a threat to national security.

Today, DACA is in jeopardy. On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration rescinded DACA punting the responsibility to provide protections for these young people to the U.S. Congress. Yet, since 2001, Congress has been unsuccessful in passing legislation that would protect Dreamers from deportation while creating a path to citizenship.



The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed), a champion for historically underserved students, supports a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Last fall, All4Ed conducted a webinar explaining the rights of undocumented students and best practices for creating a culturally inclusive school environment.

Today, All4Ed is releasing Undocumented Young People in Pursuit of the American Dream, a video featuring the stories of Dreamers told through the lens of one brave Dreamer, Nancy.

Nancy, like many other DACA recipients, is a high school graduate in pursuit of the American dream. View her video below.

For additional information on DACA and supporting undocumented young people, including research and advocacy tools, download Additional Resources to Support Undocumented Young People.

Monica Almond, PhD, is a senior associate for policy development and government relations at All4Ed.

DACA, Undocumented Students

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.