The DACA program — which shielded from deportation nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — is ending.
But, the Minnesota Dream Act continues to give eligible, undocumented Minnesotans access to the Minnesota State Grant, Minnesota Childcare Grant, Minnesota SELF Loan, in-state tuition rates and privately funded financial aid through public colleges and universities.
There was swift reaction from higher education leaders, including Minnesota State Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra and Ashish Vaidya, interim president at St. Cloud State.
“We are committed to working with our students, our faculty, our staff, and our representatives in Washington toward a long-term solution that supports DACA students and allows them to continue to contribute to our vibrant communities throughout Minnesota,” said Malhotra.
“I stand with the hundreds of university presidents – and Minnesota, business, community and Congressional leaders from both parties – urging our federal delegation to preserve DACA’s protections,” said Vaidya.
Vaidya was one of nearly 650 college presidents who signed a 2016 statement urging President-elect Donald Trump to uphold, continue and expand DACA.
Without DACA status, undocumented college students will lose their work authorizations. Without federal student loans and income from part-time jobs, students in most states will be forced to drop out.
In Minnesota, however, undocumented students can apply for state financial aid via the MN Dream Act – State Financial Aid application. To be eligible for the Minnesota State Grant, the application must be submitted no later than the 30th day of the term.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the 2012 DACA policy on Sept. 5. Department of Homeland Security personnel have stopped processing new applications.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known by its DACA acronym, allowed certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors, to apply for a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.
The Department of Homeland Security said those enrolled in DACA will be able to continue working until their permits expire; those whose permits expire by March 5, 2018, will be permitted to apply for two-year renewals as long as they do so by Oct. 5.
Trump administration officials called on Congress to create laws to address the immigration status of “dreamers” who have lived in the country illegally since they were children.
President Barack Obama announced DACA in a June 15, 2012 speech. That date is the 30th anniversary of Plyler v. Doe, a Supreme Court decision barring public schools from charging illegal immigrant children tuition.
USCIS began accepting applications Aug. 15 of that year.