BY JORDAN GIBBONS
While the Federal government has delayed the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, students who have already been accepted for DACA have some helpful tools available to them throughout Queens.
In 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that children who came to the United States with their undocumented parents before reaching their 16th birthday and have attended or graduated from school, among other guidelines, can request consideration to defer being removed from the country for a period of two years.
The City University of New York established CUNY Citizenship Now in 1997 to offer resources for immigrants, regardless of their status. Students in DACA status are eligible to be considered New York residents and not classified as undocumented because of their lawful presence in the country.
At York College in Jamaica, CUNY has an Immigration Center that can help students get help applying for DACA, in-state tuition and financial assistance issues. York also accepts applications from anyone.
“Students in an undocumented status are not prevented from applying to York College/CUNY, but the status may impact their ability to receive in-state tuition,” a York spokesperson said. “The students must meet the academic criteria to the college.”
Students and families can contact the York College Admissions Office for more information at (718) 262-2165.
All CUNY students, including undocumented students, benefit from a 2001 State law that expanded who can qualify for in-state tuition. Students who have attended a State high school for two or more years, graduated or received a State GED and applied to attend a CUNY institution within five years of receiving a State diploma or GED can pay in-state tuition. Individuals who have not resided in New York for one year are also eligible, but must file an affidavit stating that they will apply to legalize their status as soon as they are eligible.
DACA students are also eligible to apply to Queens College, according to Chelsea Lavington, Queens College’s director of admissions.
“We don’t discriminate based on immigration status,” Lavington said. “As long as you are academically eligible for Queens College, we accept anyone.”
St. John’s University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies recently benefited from a grant through the DACA program. CLACS is using the funds to create programming for immigrant students who hope to attend college, such as offering eligible students free adult literacy classes designed to help them qualify for the program and purchasing tablets for classroom use.
For more information about CUNY Citizenship Now, contact the York College Immigration Center at (718) 262-2983, the Flushing Immigration Center at (718) 640-9223.
Reach Jordan Gibbons at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jgibbons2.