Expanding the Dream: Engaging Immigrant Youth and Adults in Post-Secondary and Adult Education

Report Author: 
Duy Pham and Wendy Cervantes
Original Date of Publication: 
November, 2017

The authors of this brief argue that while the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) has had a positive impact both on the lives of the undocumented immigrants who signed up for it and on the country as a whole, it is not enough, and an updated DREAM act should be passed that provides a lasting reform of the nation's immigration laws. The brief compares three different federal bills that attempt to regularize the status of the Dreamer population and argues that one in particular - the 2017 Dream Act - has advantages over the others. The brief also highlights the role that adult education programs could play in helping immigrant youth and adults, especially those who have dropped out of high school to support themselves and their families, qualify for regularization programs. Once undocumented learners are out of high school they no longer have a right to public education, and the rules governing the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) prevent undocumented adults from accessing workforce training programs. The authors suggest that removing these restrictions would open up training programs to more adults and provide a boost to the economy. They also believe that such adult education programs could be part of the process of gaining citizenship. To make this possible, the authors note that more money needs to be allocated for workforce training programs and that there needs to be a closer alignment with educational programs to create career pathways. Rather than sequential course work (e.g., completing English language classes prior to entering vocational training), the authors advocate for the creation of integrated education and training programs. (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University)

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Pham, D., & Cervantes, W. (2017). Expanding the Dream: Engaging Immigrant Youth and Adults in Post-Secondary and Adult Education (p. 15). Washington, D.C.: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved from https://www.clasp.org/sites/default/files/publications/2017/11/2017.11.16%20Expanding%20the%20Dream.pdf

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