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Immigrant students and the Minnesota Prosperity Act, part 2

The recently passed Minnesota Prosperity Act is a signal for hope for a better future for undocumented immigrant students. Like most other students, immigrant students need help with financial aid. And, as we discussed in last week’s post, this new law will help open up more financial aid resources to immigrants.

Of course, the Prosperity Act is only one piece of a much larger immigration puzzle – if puzzle is the right word for a problem that leaves 11 million undocumented immigrants in a sort of legal limbo.

The largest piece in that puzzle is of course the possibility of federal immigration reform. There is also, however, the continued existence of the Deferred Action program, which has now been existence for about a year.

The Deferred Action program took away the threat of immediate deportation for young immigrants who meet certain specific criteria. The program is formally called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

It applies to immigrants who are:

  • under 31;
  • came to the U.S. before the age of 16;
  • have lived in the U.S. for 5 years; and
  • have graduated from high school or received a GED
  • or received an honorable discharge from the military

Given these criteria, one group of immigrants where there is likely to be most interest in the Prosperity Act is those who have already qualified for Deferred Action.

Of course, as excited as these immigrants are about the opportunity, there is also the challenge of marshaling the appropriate paperwork to actually apply for financial aid. With the cost of college so high, there is a lot of documentation involved for immigrants and non-immigrants alike.

Source: MinnPost, “What the passage of the Minnesota Properity (Dream) Act means,” Juventino Meza, July 3, 2013

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