Immigration: Undocumented students in higher education


Media Advisory

Findings of major national study of undocumented students at Jesuits colleges and universities to be unveiled and discussed at Washington, D.C. event February 26

Image: Immigrant logoIn the United States today, many undocumented students, bright, talented, and motivated young men and women who were brought into this country by parents without the authorization of the federal government or who entered the U.S. legally but overstayed their visas, find themselves prevented from developing their full potential, limited in their ability to contribute to the civic life of their surroundings, and living in fear of being deported.

Who: Collaborative group of three Jesuit Institutions - Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life (Fairfield, Conn.); Loyola University Chicago's Center for Urban Research & Learning (Chicago, IL); and Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, Calif.)

What: Results of a National Study: "Immigration: Undocumented Students in Higher Education"

A major, multi-year Ford Foundation-funded study to understand the issues and complex lives of undocumented students in higher education, with a focus on the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. The three lead Jesuit institutions - Fairfield, Santa Clara and Loyola University Chicago - each partnered with another Jesuit university in their region. A survey of key staff was conducted with participation from all 28 AJCU schools. In-depth interviews with students, staff and community advocates were conducted at select schools.

Many findings to be presented. Researchers found some undocumented students dream of becoming teachers, accountants, nurses, doctors and engineers. However, those professions are off limits because they require certifications that undocumented students are unable to obtain. Some shared that they feel disconnected from campus life for multiple reasons.

When and Where (new location): Findings to be presented; Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 7:45 a.m.; continental breakfast begins at 7:15 a.m. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room SD-G50, Washington, D.C. (Located just inside the visitor's entrance at First Street and C Street NE.)

Why: Present and disseminate research results within parameters that:

  • present a way of proceeding on immigration that informs and helps shape the national educational discourse
  • improve institutional practices for undocumented students at Jesuit institutions nationwide
  • explore the obstacles, needs, and desires of impacted students, and provide them with a more fulfilling educational experience.
  • make a substantive contribution to the common good of the nation from a principled Catholic perspective
  • suggest a new model of leadership in this area.

Participation: The event will bring together Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) presidents, faculty and administrators, national legislators and students. There will be an opportunity to talk one-on-one with speakers and researchers following the event, including students. In a gesture of solidarity, a group of AJCU presidents have signed a moral statement to work together to help undocumented students. We anticipate that many of the presidents who signed it will also attend the event.

Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life is spearheading this project. The Center for Faith and Public Life studies areas where religion and socio-political issues intersect. Fr. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., is the director of the center. For more information, please visit www.fairfield.edu/immigrantstudent

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 24, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 158