Undocumented Students at UMD

Background for Undocumented Students at the University of Maryland

Undocumented students are a vital part of our campus community. As such, the dissemination of up-to-date, accurate information by campus offices is vital. This site will serve as a resource for current and  prospective undocumented students.

students walking through campus

DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA)

offers temporary relief from deportation and the right to apply for work authorization for certain undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Maryland Immigration Population is Growing

Maryland is experiencing substantial growth in its immigration population. The state’s foreign-born population rose from 6.6% in 1990 to 13.9% in 2011 (approximately 811,701 immigrants).[1] Today, roughly 1 out of 7 Marylanders are foreign-born.[2] Undocumented immigrants comprise nearly 5% of the state’s population (275,000 people).[3]

DACA and the Maryland Dream Act

The laws, too, are changing with demographic transformation. In 2012, the Obama administration launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers temporary relief from deportation and the right to apply for work authorization for certain undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. Since then, 55% of the 1.2 million youth who meet the criteria have applied nationwide.[4]

A 2008-2012 survey conducted by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that 40,000 Marylanders were either immediately eligible for DACA (21,000) or potentially eligible once education or age requirements were met (19,000).[5] Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties accounted for over half of those either eligible or potentially eligible.[6] Further, an Immigration Policy Center report notes that Maryland is one of the top ten states in terms of the Central American and Asian American undocumented student populations.[7]

In 2012, voters in Maryland passed the Maryland Dream Act. This act allows undocumented immigrants the opportunity to transfer from a local community college and pay in-state tuition and fees at Maryland state four-year colleges and universities. While these provisions shield students from deportation and make college more affordable, academic success for these students is still challenging. An estimated 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year, but just 5 to 10 percent attend college.[8]

A New Student Population at UMD

As a result of DACA and the Maryland Dream Act, a new student population, with unique challenges and needs, is enrolling at UMD. In 2014, nearly 100 UMD students (34 UMD Dream Act and 50 to 60 DACA students[9]) are paying reduced tuition through the Dream Act or Obama’s 2012 Executive Action[10]. In addition to these UMD Dreamers and the DACA-mented students, there are other undocumented students on campus who do not benefit from either of these two programs, and, therefore, remain unaccounted for.

Undocumented Students Face Unique Challenges

Undocumented students face challenges that other students do not. According to a recent report, a quarter of a million undocumented college students in the U.S. have “to navigate a stressful education landscape due to current immigration laws, uneven state and university policies, and few campus resources.”[11] This report, which examined over 900 students from 55 countries and 34 states, noted that while the students are “highly motivated and determined to participate in the American college experience…[they are also] constantly challenged by stress and worries over family members’ deportations, financial difficulties, and feelings of isolation regarding the campus experience.”[12] A noteworthy finding is that, “almost 37 percent of the young women and 29 percent of men reported elevated anxiety levels, in contrast to 9 percent and 4 percent of normal population.”[13]

  1. 1. New Americans in Maryland: The political and economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Old Line State, http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-maryland
  2. 2. Ibid.
  3. 3. Ibid.
  4. 4. DACA at the Two-Year Mark: A National and State Profile of Youth Eligible and Applying for Deferred Action, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/daca-two-year-mark-national-and-state-profile-youth-eligible-and-applying-deferred-action
  5. 5. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Profile: Maryland http://www.migrationpolicy.org/content/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca-profile-maryland
  6. 6. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Profile: Montgomery County, MD http://www.migrationpolicy.org/content/montgomery-county-md
    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Profile: Prince George’s County, MD 
    http://www.migrationpolicy.org/content/prince-georges-county-md  
  7. 7. Immigration Policy Center. 2012. Who and Where the Dreamers Are Revised Estimates. http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/who-and-where-dreamers-are-revised-estimates  
  8. 8. Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn, A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States (Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, April 14, 2009), p. 11; http://www.goldendoorscholars.org/infographic.html
  9. 9. Ibid, The number of Dream Acts students are officially tracked but not for DACA students, based on state policy
  10. 10. Ibid.
  11. 11. New Report Looks At Nation’s Undocumented College Students
  12. 12. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/new-report-looks-nations-undocumented-college-students-n293361
  13. 13. Ibid.