Betsy DeVos Callously Bars Undocumented Students From Emergency COVID-19 Relief

Jose Munoz Press Releases

New guidance from the Department of Education leaves undocumented students and DACA recipients out of $6 billion in congressional aid.

For Immediate Release
José Alonso Muñoz | jose@unitedwedream.org | 202.810.0746

Washington, D.C. – Today, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released new guidance to purposefully exclude $6 billion in aid for students ineligible for federal aid. This new policy excludes undocumented students, including DACA recipients. The aid, provided by Congress in last month’s COVID-19 relief bill provided $6 billion to colleges and universities for students to cover expenses like child care, housing, and food. 

Sanaa Abrar, Advocacy Director of United We Dream Network, said:

“Tonight, Trump, Besty DeVos and the Department of Education released a callous policy guidance barring COVID-19 relief aid from anyone who doesn’t qualify for federal financial aid. This means anyone who is undocumented, including DACA recipients, will be left out of aid that was allocated by Congress to colleges and universities to help students cover expenses like child care, housing, and food in the middle of an unprecedented global health crisis. 

Immigrants play an essential role in our society and now they serve as frontline workers responding to COVID-19. Yet immigrants have been largely left out of COVID-19 relief efforts. Last week, United We Dream launched the NationalUndocuFund to in attempts to provide some financial assistance to undocumented people and their families. 

Colleges and universities must find ways to allocate funds to assist their undocumented students as they deal with the ramifications of COVID-19. Every single relief package being discussed in Congress, must include both the health care and financial assistance immigrant communities need, especially as the Trump administration continues to attack and scapegoat our communities amidst a pandemic.” 

Luz Chavez Gonzales, DACA Recipient and student at Trinity Washington University, said:

“The Department of Education’s policy guidance excluding undocumented students is cruel. I’m completing my junior year at Trinity Washington University, an institution that has a large undocumented student population thanks to the National Dream.US scholarship. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I’ve become the sole provider of my household since my parents and younger siblings lost their jobs. We’ve had to cut back and budget on essential items. DACA allows me to work, and with a health crisis and the uncertainty of an upcoming DACA Supreme Court ruling, my family could lose their only source of income. 

Congress gave these funds to colleges and universities to help students like me and help alleviate some of these stressors, but time and time again this administration has proven their callousness for the undocumented community. It’s important for colleges and universities to step in where the federal government has failed us by committing to help all students, regardless of immigration status.” 

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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.