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Policy Timeline

The Policy Timeline documents the key moments in the undocumented student movement.  It highlights national, state, and campus level policy changes, the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform, and the efforts of the undocumented student and ally social movement.

The issue of educational access for undocumented students has garnered immense attention in the United States. In the absence of a comprehensive federal policy, there is significant variation in decision-making at the state, local, and institutional level (Szelényi, & Chang, 2002). As a result, higher education institutions, leaders as well as other organizational structures and stakeholders must individually interpret federal and state law to create institutional policies and practices that address undocumented students. Facing this issue, various stakeholders are prompted to seek out ways to be proactive in addressing opportunities for these students to enjoy the educational benefits of our society.(Flores & Oseguera, 2009; Ullman, 2009; Flores, 2010; Kavanagh, & Lancaster, 2008). 

In discussing the policy context, it is important to address how undocumented students  emerged as a formidable political voice by mobilizing to construct their demands for social and legal inclusion and push for the passage of the DREAM Act (Anguiano, 2004; Nicholls, 2013). Despite the political failure to enact the Dream Act, the work of thousands of undocumented youth, also known as “Dreamers,” and their supporters has kept this issue in the headlines and impacted institutional and state policy. At the local level, undocumented youth form advocacy and support groups (Nicholls, 2013). Across the country, undocumented youth and immigrant rights allies work to create an organizational infrastructure that provided a safe and welcoming environment for youth to advocate for their rights.