Degree doesn’t help illegal immigrants

Even if they earn a college degree, young undocumented immigrants end up in the same jobs as their parents, concludes a University of Chicago survey, which focused on young adults who came from Mexico before the age of 12. Without legal immigration status, they typically work in construction, restaurants, cleaning and child care services, says Professor Roberto G. Gonzales.

“This is a population of young people who, because of their legal integration through the school system, learned to work hard and pursue the American dream,” Gonzalez said.

“But as they reach adulthood, they are cut off from the means to live the lives for which school prepared them.”

Gonzales’ study will be published in American Sociological Review in August.

California will let immigrants who came illegally as children apply for private college scholarships under what’s called the Half Dream Act. The new law will allow undocumented students who qualify for reduced in-state tuition to apply for $88 million in private scholarship funds administered by the University of California, Cal State University and the California Community Colleges.

“It was a good step forward, but the glass is still half-empty,” said Ivan Ceja, 19, a Fullerton community college student who was illegally brought to the U.S. from Mexico as a baby.

A second bill, which would open access to public scholarships and grants, is tied up in the Legislature. Like the U.S. Dream Act, its chances are slim.

Illegal immigrants receiving in-state tuition as California high school graduates make up less than one percent of enrollment in the state’s three-tier college and university system, officials say.