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Research: 98,000 Dreamers Graduate High School Each Year

April 25, 2019

An estimated 98,000 undocumented immigrant students known as Dreamers graduate from American high schools every year, according to a new analysis from the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration-focused think tank. This reflects a substantial increase over an earlier, widely circulated estimate based on data from 2000-02 that put the number at just 65,000.

MPI estimates that 27 percent of undocumented immigrants graduating from U.S. high schools each year live in California, while 17 percent live in Texas and 6 percent live in Florida. These three states, along with New York, New Jersey and Illinois, account for 62 percent of all Dreamers graduating from U.S. high schools.

At least 20 states now provide in-state tuition benefits to Dreamers. But the MPI report notes that many of the estimated 98,000 Dreamers graduating from U.S. high schools every year are ineligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides work authorization and protection against deportation for Dreamers. The Trump administration moved to end the DACA program in 2017, and though courts have compelled the government to continue to accept applications for renewal of DACA status, it is not required to approve new applications. Without the protections granted by DACA, the report says, "these graduates will be at risk of deportation and will face severely limited opportunities to pursue further work and education."

The research from MPI was commissioned by the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a group of college presidents who advocate for welcoming policies for undocumented immigrant and international students.


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