Over 260 Organizations Call on Betsy DeVos to Include Undocumented Students in Congressional Aid

Jose Munoz Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: José Alonso Muñoz | jose@unitedwedream.org | 202.810.0746
Tom Salyers | tsalyers@clasp.org | 202-607-1074

Washington, D.C. – Today, over 260 organizations sent a letter to the Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos demanding the retraction of her most recent guidance to exclude undocumented students, including DACA recipients, from accessing over $6 billion the federal government directed to colleges and universities. Earlier this week, Democrats in Congress called on DeVos to reverse course as well. This aid was meant for students to use on food, housing, and childcare emergency costs related to COVID-19, and excluding undocumented students is both cruel and unnecessary. 

United We Dream called on colleges and universities to step-in to support undocumented students, and this week both the University of California and California State University systems, among others, announced they will be using their own funds to help students. 

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

“It was a callous and unnecessary move by Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education to keep undocumented students from receiving federal relief to help cover food, housing, and childcare. Undocumented young people in our community are being excluded while also supporting their families, many of whom have seen people losing their jobs, or going without health care. 

While the CARES Act failed to provide immigrants with much needed relief benefits, such as needed access to free COVID-19 testing and treatment, it made no such exclusion in the Department of Education’s money. The decision to exclude undocumented students from this funding was a unilateral decision from the Department of Education. It’s imperative that Betsy DeVos instruct the Department of Education to reverse their guidance to ensure all students, regardless of immigration status, have access to this needed relief. It’s also necessary for colleges and universities to step-in and help provide much needed support to all students during this time.” 

Olivia Golden, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) said:

“As an anti-poverty organization dedicated to ensuring all students have access to the resources necessary to meet their basic needs, CLASP is proud to join United We Dream in calling on Secretary DeVos to do the right thing for all students being hurt by the COVID-19 crisis. 

Students’ ability to continue their education matters greatly to our national future.  We all have a stake in ensuring that undocumented and DACA students get the emergency aid they need to pursue their studies, keep food on their tables and a roof over their heads, as well as provide for their families. We are all connected, and immigrant students and their families are critical to our ability to fight this virus and to come out a stronger and more united nation.”

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

“I’ve become the sole provider of my household. I live with my parents and 2 younger siblings, and because of COVID-19’s impact on their work, they have all lost their jobs. My family and I have had to cut back and budget on essential items. It’s been a lot of added stress during an already stressful time. These funds from colleges and universities would really help me and my family during this difficult time. It’s important that the Department of Education reverse their guidance to allow all students, regardless of immigration status, access to this much needed aid.”

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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.