Counselors Expect More Undocumented Students to Seek College

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Only 5 percent of undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools go on to college, according to an oft-cited 2004 report by the Urban Institute. However, in June President Barack Obama issued an executive order halting the deportation of young undocumented immigrants.

Marty Forth, senior director of teen programming for the YMCA of Greater New York’s 22 branches, now wonders if a wave of teens will be coming to counselors and social workers for the first time looking for help understanding the new rules.

In the past he says these kids kept their status to themselves, now Forth said, “ I think they are going to come out asking for help.

“When they come in they are like everybody else,” said Forth, “Each situation is unique. No matter what — whether you’re legal or illegal — each counseling, each guiding, each hand-holding needs to be different.”

That makes for a daunting task because 15 percent of undocumented immigrants living in the United States are children. That’s 1.8 million children who in many instances grow up unaware of their immigration status. Today an estimated 65,000 young undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools each year.

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