School Defers Deportation for Children of Illegal Immigrants

Illegal immigrants can stay in school in order to stay in the country.

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012  |  Updated 2:09 PM PDT
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Antony Lopez, 10, left, Hillary Lopez, 11, and Angelita Lopez, 6, all of Arlington, Va., wear shirts that read "Don't Deport My Mom."

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Stay in school, stay in the United States.

The formula is simple for the 1.76 million "illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children," according to the Bay Area News Group. "Proof of being in school, or having graduated from high school, could be a shield against deportation," the newspaper reported.

Federal immigration authorities first announced the "deferred action for childhood arrivals" program in June, the newspaper reported. And since then, the impact has been palpable, the newspaper reported: July enrollments in GED and English as a Second Language programs in East Contra Costa County "spiked," the newspaper reported.

Deferred action "is going to be a motivation for everyone who didn't finish high school" to acquire GEDs or go back to school, said Luis Arroyo, 18, a freshman at UC Santa Cruz -- who is applying for the relief himself

Some would-be students gave up on school because a diploma or degree means little without legal citizenship, the newspaper reported. Though under deferred action, there's extra incentive to become educated -- you may not qualify for the free ride back "home," to the country of origin some teenagers haven't seen since they were babies.

The Califoria Dream Act also gives illegal immigrant students access to scholarships and Cal Grants to attend college, the newspaper reported.

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