|No Social Security number poses challenges|
Catholic News Service photo
This photo illustration shows a Social Security information card from 1956. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935. The name and numbers on this card are fictitious.
Catholic News ServiceOn class days, Grecia’s mother drives Aranet and Grecia 23 miles from their homes in Penitas Texas, to South Texas College in McAllen, dropping them off on her way to work in Hidalgo.
Grecia’s mom is always mindful of the speed limit, knowing that a routine traffic stop could spell big trouble for the three of them. They are all undocumented immigrants.
“When you don’t have papers, you live scared,” the mom explained. “You worry that if the police stop you, they’ll send you back.”
For undocumented students, going to college takes more than discipline and an impressive academic record. It requires money since undocumented students in most states pay out-of-state tuition rates, and without a Social Security number, there are few scholarship opportunities. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid.
Sister Pat McGraw at Proyecto Desarrollo Humano regularly tutors the kids. All the sisters at the center provide a moral support for the young women.
About 1.5 million undocumented students live in the United States. Roughly half of those students, approximately 765,000, arrived before their 16th birthday. Only about five to 10 percent of undocumented high school graduates attend college.
The two plan to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a policy change announced by the Obama administration in June. It offers the chance for those who are under the age of 31 and came to the U.S. before the age of 16 to request the government use its prosecutorial discretion to defer deportation proceedings and give them work permits.
Other eligibility requirements include currently being in school or having earned a high school diploma and not being convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor.