House Democrats Want Obama To Expand Education Programs To Children Of Illegal Immigrants

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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About 100 House Democrats sent out a letter Tuesday to Obama urging him to give education benefits to young children who were brought to the United States illegally as children, according to reports from the Hill. 

Backed by Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, Rueben Hinojas of Texas, and Gwen Moore or Wisconsin, the letter said that children enrolled in Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) should receive the same benefits from education programs that less advantaged children do who are legal U.S. citizens.

Democrats claim that because these benefit are only for legal U.S. children, DACA children are prohibited from getting “life changing services.”

The DACA, passed in 2011, allows “hard-working illegal immigrants” who were brought to the U.S. illegally before they were 16 to enroll in two-year work visas. Obama expanded those who could be eligible for DACA in November 2014; Obama also allowed DACA’s protections to include “parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents,” according to the Hill.

In the letter, Democrat lawmakers wrote, “Federal TRIO Programs across the country, including those in our congressional districts, regularly turn away students because of their immigration status. Even though many students now have access to in-state tuition rates, they are unable to participate in the programs designed to enable and encourage their success.”

Democrat lawmakers claim that because the six-year citizenship rule was created by the U.S. Department of Education, that Obama can undo the citizenship rule.

The letter said, “The citizenship requirement is solely the result of Department of Education regulations and is not a requirement in statute,” the lawmakers wrote. “We write to encourage you to take swift action, through whatever means available to you, to eliminate the citizenship requirement for TRIO and expand the program to beneficiaries of DACA.”

The TRIO program, created in 1964, gives low-income high school students tutoring, counseling and other services to help them succeed. The program also helps students whose parents do not have a college education.

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Amber Randall