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Many millennials have been the beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. However, many young immigrants “feel alone” or are unaware of their options during the immigration process, Al Día News, reports.
Obstacles ranging from a lack of access and information to a lack of healthcare and public schools impede the academic progress of many undocumented students. Even a lack of knowledge about college or college-access programs have been obstacles for many.
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“It can be difficult sometimes for immigrants to access programs education, healthcare and just going through the process,” said Maria Sotomayor, the Civic Engagement Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC). “Undocumented students are often in need of additional support and information during their high school and college years.”
Sotomayor’s group works to educate students across the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania (11% Latino population) about the immigration process and the options available to them. The group speaks at high schools and universities to encourage students to learn more about the immigration process.
“I want to educate people who are indifferent about immigrants or people who don’t quite know what the immigration process is,” she said. “In a way, I want to give them an understanding of it and also challenge what they have heard from other people. I go to colleges to often to counsel students and teachers who work with immigrants and help them better cater to immigrants and refugees in their classrooms.”
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