The College Guide for Advising Undocumented Students Fall 2010

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1 The College Guide for Advising Undocumented Students Fall 2010 Evangelina Orozco Immigrant College Coordinator, Austin ISD Austin Partners in Education Breakthrough Austin College Forward Foundation Communities Con Mi Madre KIPP Austin Editor: Rachel Craft College Forward Thanks to all of the above for their work creating, editing, and compiling this document. Additional thanks to Gilbert Zavala of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Nicholas Depree, Denise Martin, Nick Zarazua, Sierra Ready and Joe Vladeck of College Forward, Michael Griffith of Breakthrough Austin, Aida Ramirez of Foundation Communities, Jazmin Acuña of Austin Partners in Education, Sonia B. Castellanos of Con Mi Madre, Laura Chrisco of Kipp Through College, and Hannah Gourgey of the E3 Alliance.

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction Facts about Undocumented Texans and Higher Education 2 3 Undocumented Students Perceptions of College 4 6 Preparing for College Overview 7 Cash for College: ITIN and Tax Information 8 9 University Leadership Initiative s Guide for Texas Immigrant Students Financial Aid Process Applying for Financial Aid Step by Step Flow Chart of Procedures for Financial Aid 14 Dispelling Myths Overview 15 9 Things Every Undocumented Youth Should Know 16 Immigrant Legal Resource Center s (ILRC) Immigration Basics 17 Justice for Immigrants Factsheet on Naturalization Through Military Service National Immigration Law Center s [2009] Basic Facts About In State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrant Students Resources Overview Financial Aid and Admissions Documents Affidavit for SB1528 students 27 Selective Service 28 Financial Aid Available for Undocumented Students Introduction to the Scholarship List 33 Scholarship List Austin Area Scholarships Texas Scholarships 37 National Scholarships Further Reading 41

3 Introduction This guide is a project of the Austin College Access Network (ACAN), a joint task force of non profit organizations and educators in Central Texas. Two compelling forces drove ACAN to compile a guide for advising undocumented students who are interested in pursuing higher education: first, a law (previously HB 1403 and currently SB 1528) came into effect in 2001 that enables undocumented students to qualify as Texas residents within the state s public higher education system, and pay in state tuition. Secondly, more undocumented students have the opportunity to pursue a college degree than we might expect: in 2004, UNICEF estimated that 65,000 undocumented children who have lived in the United States for five years or longer graduate from U.S. high school each year. Unfortunately, confusion about how to counsel undocumented students prevails. This guide is an attempt to clearly present the facts and dispel the myths enveloping this critical issue. More about Texas House Bill 1403 and Senate Bill 1528 Effective since 2001, Texas HB 1403 enables immigrant students, including those without documentation, to qualify as Texas residents and pay in state tuition at public colleges and universities in the state. This tuition is much lower than the tuition paid by international students. In 2005, the Texas Legislature approved a new law, SB 1528, which expands the benefits of HB To qualify under these laws, a student must meet the following four provisions: (1) Graduate from a public or private high school, or receive a GED, in Texas; (2) Reside in Texas for at least the 3 years leading up to high school graduation or receiving a GED; (3) Reside in Texas for the 12 consecutive months right before the semester you are enrolling in college; and (4) Provide the institution an affidavit stating that you will file an application to become a U.S. permanent resident as soon as you are eligible to do so. Immigrant students who do not meet the requirements above but who have filed an I 130 (family petition) or I 140 (work petition) with immigration services (USCIS), and have received a Notice of Action as a response from the USCIS, are also eligible to receive in state tuition if they have been here for at least 12 months. People holding work visas (H1 B) and their dependents (H 4) can now also receive in state tuition at state universities. The same rule applies for NACARA and TPS applicants, among others. Students who are classified as Texas residents under this law also qualify for state financial aid! If a student has completed the recommended high school program, s/he can receive the TEXAS Grant and the Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG) at public universities. There are several other financial aid programs you may receive at a community college, technical college or at a private university: the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG), Texas Equalization Grant (TEG), or the College Access Loan (CAL). To apply, students will need to fill out the TAFSA or FAFSA (depending on the institution), even if they do not have a social security number, and submit it directly to the university/college that they plan to attend. Most universities in Texas offer academic scholarships to which any student, regardless of his/her immigration status, can apply. If an immigrant student is awarded one these scholarships, and the amount is at least $1000 per year, he/she becomes eligible to pay in state tuition. 1

4 Immigrant Students to College! ** Estudiantes inmigrantes a la universidad! Immigrant College Access Program * Office of Bilingual/ESL Education * Austin ISD Undocumented Immigrant Students and Access to Higher Education Undocumented Children/Youth in Education All K 12 In 2005, there were 1.8 million undocumented children under the age of 18; 15% of roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants in U.S. (Passel, 2006 Pew Hispanic Center Survey) MS & HS In 2002, approximately 607,000 undocumented students between the ages of 12 and 20 were enrolled in U.S. K 12 classes. (AASCU, 2003) HS graduates Every year, roughly 65,000 undocumented students who have lived in the U.S. for five years or longer graduate from U.S. high schools, representing less than 2% of all high school graduates. (Passel, 2003 The Urban Institute) College students Only between 5 and 10% of undocumented high school graduates go on to college, compared with about 75% of their classmates. (NILC, 2010) o 13,000 undocumented high school graduates enroll in public colleges and universities a year. (Passel, 2003 The Urban Institute) Undocumented Students in Texas In Texas, there were an estimated 135,013 undocumented students in public schools in the academic year. This number had risen from 125,000 in (Special Report of the Texas Comptroller, 2006) In 2006, only 0.36% of all students attending public colleges and universities were undocumented. (Special Report of the Texas Comptroller, 2006) In 2009, this number had grown to 1% of all college students attending public colleges & universities. (Dallas Morning News, March 15, 2010) There are 3,699 students enrolled in Austin ISD in who did not provide the school district a Social Security number when registering. This is a very rough proxy for the possible numbers of undocumented students in this district. An estimated 500 undocumented students are in the 12 th grade. (Immigrant College Access Program, Austin ISD) Undocumented Youth Face Unique Challenges For the majority, no opportunity exists under current law to legalize their status or they are currently waiting long years for immigration procedures Usually no drivers license or U.S. government identification No Social Security Number cannot work legally Fear of discovery and deportation Often non traditional family/home situations High mobility/unstable housing Financial/economic need often have a job or must help with home responsibilities so parents can work Language barriers for some, though many have grown up in the United States and are fluent in English Evangelina Orozco, Immigrant College Coordinator, Austin ISD S. Lanier High School, 1201 Payton Gin Rd., Portable T-25, Austin, TX, * * 2

5 Immigrant Students to College! ** Estudiantes inmigrantes a la universidad! Immigrant College Access Program * Office of Bilingual/ESL Education * Austin ISD Low levels of parental education Concentrated in schools lacking in rigor and preparedness Lack of appropriate career/higher ed. guidance and support in schools Lower participation in extracurricular and enrichment activities First generation high school and college students Higher dropout rate many lose aspirations due to struggles and need to contribute financially to home budget Transitioning to Higher Education Immigration status means they must apply as international students and pay much higher tuition Not eligible for any government financial aid or most scholarships Wide range of academic preparedness: remedial to valedictorians First generation college students Decreased opportunities due to status: o Teacher certification o Nurse registration o Study abroad o Trips with friends o Limited number of schools to transfer to Immigration issues Impact of Texas In State Tuition Law (HB1403/SB1528) State has developed procedures and systems to streamline and facilitate the college enrollment of undocumented students, including the creation of a state financial aid application TASFA. Since 2001, 22,697 students have attended Texas colleges and universities who benefited from the law (Dallas Morning News, March 15, 2010) o No data on how many have graduated In Fall of 2009, 12,138 students were enrolled in Texas public colleges & universities and received instate tuition represents about 1% of all Texas college students. (Dallas Morning News, March 15, 2010) o Public Universities 3,725 o Community & Technical Colleges 8,406 o Health related Institutions 7 No data on number attending private colleges & universities, or going out of state. $33.6 million awarded in state and institutional financial aid between Fall 2004 and Summer 2008 (Dallas Morning News, March 15, 2010) Texas experience reveals that the number of undocumented students is far too small to deprive native born students of college admission slots or financial aid. Also, this legislation does not deprive the state of revenue from large number of students who would otherwise pay out of state tuition; rather, it raises the total numbers of high school graduates who pursue a college degree, therefore increasing revenue and postsecondary achievement. (NILC, 2010) Evangelina Orozco, Immigrant College Coordinator, Austin ISD S. Lanier High School, 1201 Payton Gin Rd., Portable T-25, Austin, TX, * * 3

6 Undocumented Students Perception of College Access In September, 2010, the Austin College Access Network s College Advising for Undocumented Students Team (CAUST) conducted a series of focus groups with undocumented students who had enrolled in college. The intention of these focus groups was to better understand the aspirations of (and challenges facing) undocumented students who were pursuing higher education. Seventeen students attended the focus groups, all of whom were Hispanic students for whom English is not their first language. Other notable demographic characteristics of the participants include: On average, participants had spent 12.7 years in the U.S. Participants came from low income families; only one reported a family income of more than $50,000 Nonetheless, all 17 participants reported that their parents were involved or somewhat involved in the educational process The majority of participants are academically proficient only four students reported taking developmental education classes Participants were asked a series of questions about their aspirations and challenges related to their pursuit of postsecondary education. The commonalities in their responses are reflected by the quotes below. What Motivated You to Go to College? You see your parents working hard, and they don t make enough money to pay bills. Another reason is, that s why I m here in America. My parents want me to succeed. I want to feel like I did something with my life, and not just do what everyone else does, like work at McDonalds. I want to go into nursing to help other people and see that change happen. Student at Austin Community College When I was in high school, I kept getting in trouble. It got to a point where my counselor asked me what my plans were. She said you did not have an excuse because you are an immigrant, the reason you feel this way is because no one is telling you what you should do. So, she kept on working with me. Then my mom told me I was the first one who could go to college, in my family. Student at Texas State University San Marcos, Reagan HS graduate To actually do something with my life. Even if I can t work, I have [a degree]. If I can get my papers, I can do something. I don t want to work at fast food. I know I can go somewhere else, and it s something. You got an education. You did this. It s helpful even if you can t work. Student at Austin Community College The challenge motivates me it is possible. Right now I want to continue. I feel like a bachelor s is not enough. I wasn t thinking about a masters, but after I was done [with college], you think you know you can do it, you know you did well in college. Graduate of UT Austin, Lanier HS Graduate What Role Have Your Parents Played? My mom is a really pushy person, she told me since I was little, I wasn t a big struggle growing up, if you want a better life go to school, so you are not like us, but also to do it for myself, so I can say I did something, I didn t waste my time, My mom played a big role... In my case, my parents are separated, my mom working three jobs so I could focus and be in school, she has sacrificed a lot. 4

7 Student at UT Austin, Johnson HS graduate My mom says as long as you live with me you don t have to worry about food or shelter. She is a single mother. The rest of my family tells me to get to work. It is a Hispanic thing, they just want to see you work and make something out of your life. I am working full time right now. My family is like: what are you going to do next? They re happy I m not pregnant and thinking about marriage. I want to do things on my own before I think about that. Former Austin Community College Student My parents never told me no. They told me to apply to the prestigious big schools, like Harvard, but I m not that smart. Because my dad went to college in Mexico, but didn t finish it. He s pretty smart, and since he didn t finish he really wants me to finish. If they don t have the money they will try and find it. Student at Austin Community College, Del Valle HS graduate For me I got all of the support, but you have to do it. They are not with you when you are taking the exams. But family really helped me get through college in four years. My mom and dad barely finished elementary school in their country, all they could do is pray and support and give me love and hope for the best. Graduate of UT Austin, Lanier HS graduate What Are Your Career Aspirations? I am in an internship. After I graduate, I will be looking for a job. I m looking for jobs outside of the United States, international companies. I m also considering law school. Probably New York or UT. They have special programs for minorities. I m curious about different types of law. Student at UT Austin, Lanier HS graduate The [U.S] military is still a goal. If the Dream Act passes, I will go to the National Guard, and then become an officer in the army. I am still thinking about a masters degree, but those officer bars are pretty tempting. Student at Texas State University San Marcos, Reagan HS Graduate I d love to go into prenatal nursing. That s kind of the short term. Long term, I d like to be a doctor. Student at Austin Community College I m in my 2 nd year studying nursing. I m in the honors program in the nursing school. I didn t have to apply to get into nursing, since I m in honors. But if I can t maintain above a C, I will have to reapply. If it gets too hard, I was thinking about being a mechanic. My dad fixes mufflers and radiators, and he gets paid well. If the Dream Act doesn t pass with nursing then I will go to ACC and study to help my dad. Student at UT Austin, LASA graduate What Barriers Have You Encountered So Far? I applied for Financial Aid way too late. I was entitled to the Texas Grant, no one told me this, they gave me the ACC grant that covered my tuition. The Texas Grant would cover my Texas State tuition, because it was already 16 months, I didn t have the right info. Student at Texas State University San Marcos, Reagan HS graduate It was hard explaining to the international office that, yes, I m an international student but a Texas resident, but I m not supposed to pay what international students are paying. My particular counselor wasn t well informed, and I have to do the same thing ever year regular counselors did not know how to advise us. I talked to a counselor; they always told me to talk to someone else, and they were not very knowledgeable. Student at UT Austin 5

8 It was when I was in Access; [an advisor] helped me get into Prairie View A&M s academic boot camp One night they called us all into a room and announced all of the scholarship money. Then they said except the rest of you don t have documentation you don t have money. Even if you get a Ph.D., if you come to Prairie View, you may not be able to do anything. You might be a dishwasher. This is a business, and how are you going to pay? Most likely you will not be able to get in. I was heartbroken, but it was the hard truth. The professor didn t know there was help available. Fresh out of high school, you have high hopes, then a professor from a big institution says all that. It was heartbreaking. It was one of the bigger incidents I went through. It sucked, pretty much. Student at Texas State University San Marcos, Reagan HS graduate The summer after I graduated from high school, I was going to join the car club I had a friend who knew about my status. He told another person, they started asking me questions about this and that, so I had to drop the club. Another [club], in the organization I m with, they require a background check, and they asked me why I would refuse. They tried to find the information about me, and I beat them to my advisor and told my advisor that my information can t be released. I lied to try to avoid it without telling them. [Your status] makes you feel like you are below them. Student at Texas State University San Marcos, Lehman HS graduate Everything was lost at Texas State, so I had to drive there to fill out paperwork and deliver it to them. They lost my financial aid like 4 times, and this is transferring from ACC. Student at Texas State University San Marcos, Reagan HS graduate The deadlines hurt me, and everything was too late. I didn t get any financial aid, everything was out of pocket. Former student at Austin Community College 6

9 Overview: Preparing for College Students who are eligible for college admission and state financial aid under SB1528 are required to follow a unique and exacting process, which at times differs from the process U.S. citizens follow. The follow section clarifies the elements of the college preparation process which specifically apply to students who are eligible for admission and state financial aid under SB1528. This section includes: 1) A checklist/quick reference guide and overview of the process. 2) ITIN and tax information (Foundation Communities) In order for SB1528 students to apply for state financial aid, they must submit a completed income tax form. Those without a social security number can file taxes through an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number); however, the process can take time depending on the circumstances. Thus, long before the student is actually applying for financial aid, they and/or their parents should have an ITIN. 3) Specific information about applying for financial aid. 7

10 Frequently Asked Tax Questions: Undocumented Students or Parents Q: How can you file an income tax return if you don t have a social security number? The IRS wants everyone to file their taxes, regardless of their immigration and citizenship status. Individuals without social security numbers may apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). ITINs are tax processing numbers that are nine digits, begin with the number 9 and have a 7 or 8 as the fourth digit. ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose. An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit. ITINs are not valid identification outside the tax system. IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers. Q: Is it safe to file if you are an undocumented worker? Yes, it is safe to apply for and ITIN and file your taxes. ITINs are not used by the government to track undocumented workers. i In fact, filing taxes is considered to be a mark of good citizenship by the federal government. Q: Why should you file an income tax return if you are an undocumented worker? What are the benefits? Many people filing taxes will receive a refund. If you are an undocumented worker, you can only get your refund by applying for an ITIN and filing your taxes. ITINs also allow you to claim dependents and obtain the child tax credit if applicable. Finally, you can also use your ITIN to build a wage record with the Social Security Administration. Your ITIN will not make you eligible for Social Security benefits. But you can start a wage record so that later you may become eligible for Social Security benefits. ii Filing a tax return also will help when you file to adjust your immigration status; it is proof of your good moral character, your residency in the U.S., and your marital status. Q: Who can get an ITIN? Examples of individuals who need ITINs include: * Non resident alien filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for a SSN * U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for a SSN * Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien * Dependent or spouse of a non resident alien visa holder Q: How do you get an ITIN? An ITIN is obtained by filling out a Form W7, attaching it to an original tax return and providing two forms of identification to the IRS. These documents must be originals, certified by the agency that issued them, or notarized by a U.S. notary. If you get your taxes done at a Community Tax Center through Foundation Communities, they will guide you through this process. For Community Tax Center locations visit Q: Are you self employed? If you are in business for yourself, or carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor, you probably are self employed and will file Schedule C or Schedule C EZ with your Form iii Q: How can you file an income tax return if you are paid in cash or with checks by a company or contractor? What documents do you need? The IRS requires you to report all of your income, whether you re paid by cash or check. If you are hired to do a job 8

11 and you decide when, where and how to complete that work, you are probably self-employed. You may receive a Form 1099-MISC, and you will need this document when you ile your taxes. IF you work for yourself or as a contractor, it is important to keep a calendar or notebook in which you write your income. You may use this same calendar or notebook to keep track of all your business expenses. (Examples of some such expenses may include tools, mileage, and business insurance.) If you are hired to do a job and the person who hires you tells you when, where and how to do the work, you are probably an employee and should receive a Form W-2. Q: Will you get a refund if you are self employed? Won't you have to always pay taxes on that income? When you are an employee, your employer pays half of your payroll taxes and withholds the other half from your paychecks. When you are self-employed, you must pay these taxes yourself. This is called self-employment tax and is the Social Security and Medicare tax owed on your earnings. Q: How can you ile an income tax return if you use an invalid SSN to work? Can you still ile if your W 2 shows that SSN? Can you get back any of the taxes withheld? If you use an invalid SSN to work, you may get an ITIN to ile your tax return. Your earnings under the SSN will be attributed to your ITIN. If you are eligible for a refund, the IRS will send your refund after you ile your taxes. Again, if you get your taxes done at a Community Tax Center through Foundation Communities, they will guide you through this process. For Community Tax Center locations visit Q: When should a dependent (young, high school age or college age) ile their own income tax return? Do I include my dependent s income on my income tax return? Q: What are the income amounts at which people are not required by the IRS to ile an income tax return? The amounts below are for 2009 only: these numbers change every year. For single people: Under 65--$9, or older--$10,750 For the head of household: Under 65--$12, or older--$13,400 Married, iling jointly: Both under 65--$18,700 One 65 or older--$19,800 Both 65 or older--$20,900 Married, iling separately: Any age--$3,650 Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child(ren): Under 65--$15, or older--$16,150 iv i IRS ITIN inform h p://www.irs.gov/individuals/a e/0,,id=96287,00.html# what ii Texas Taxpayer Assistance Project ITIN inform lawhelp.org/program/4290/rtf1.cfm?pagename=indi vidual%20taxpayer%20%20iden fi on%20number%20%2 8ITIN%29 iii IRS Small business on ://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/ e/0,,id=115045,00.html iv IRS n 4012, page A-1 You will not include your dependent s income on your own tax return. Dependents complete their own tax forms but indicate that someone else is claiming them as a dependent. Dependents are required to ile their own taxes if their income was more than $7,100 in If their income was less than this, they still may want to ile in order to get a refund of any federal withholdings. 9

12 COLLEGE APPLICATION GUIDE FOR TEXAS IMMIGRANT STUDENTS (SB1528) OBJECTIVE DESCRIPTION Register for and take the SAT and ACT college admissions tests. Determine colleges you will apply to and obtain an application for admission. If applying to a Texas public institution, use the Apply Texas online application even if you don t have a Social Security Number (SSN): Obtain an SB1528 Affidavit of Intent form Fill out Affidavit of Intent and have it notarized by a notary public. Submit your application to each university before the deadline Keep copies of all documents submitted! Apply for financial aid using paper FAFSA or TAFSA forms as early as possible after Jan. 1 Apply for scholarships before the deadline Follow up on the process. Fill out housing application. Sign up for an Orientation Session. These tests are offered several times a year on Saturdays. Request that your scores be sent to the universities/colleges you are applying to. If you receive free or reduced lunch, ask your counselor for a fee waiver so you don t have to pay for the test; you should be eligible. Applications are available on college s websites and in their admissions offices. If you are considering a private institution, contact the admissions office to see whether you can submit an online application without having a Social Security Number (SSN). If filling out the Apply Texas application: When asked for a social security number, leave it blank. When asked for visa information, answer accurately. Do not lie. Make sure you answer YES to the question that says Have you resided in Texas the last 36 consecutive months of high school. When asked if you are a legal Texas resident, answer YES. When filling out the Apply Texas application, make sure to print this form. If applying to a private university, call the admissions office, and explain that you are an SB 1528 student and will need an Affidavit of Intent. Note that some institutions will prefer that you use an Affidavit on Intent that they will provide to you on their institution letterhead. Check to see if there is a notary at your high school; otherwise you will need to go to another location, such as bank or tax preparation place. A notary should not charge more than $6 per document. The notary will need to see a photo ID, like your school ID. Do NOT fill out the form until you are with the notary. You will need one original notarized form for each college you are applying to. This form will make you eligible to pay in-state tuition and receive state financial aid. 1. If using an online application, make sure you press the submit button. If available, submit your essays, resume, and letters of recommendation through the online application. 2. Mail the following supporting documents to the admissions office of each institution: a) official sealed high school transcript; b) application fee (or fee waiver); c) notarized Affidavit of Intent. 3. Make sure the college has received your SAT and/or ACT test scores. You will only be eligible for state financial aid. Without an SSN you cannot complete the online FAFSA application. Find out from the university which application they prefer. You can obtain a paper FAFSA or TASFA through your high school counseling office or online as a PDF document. Both forms have to be printed out, completed on paper, and turned in, in person, or via mail to the financial aid office of the institution. Remember; do NOT mail it to the federal government! Many scholarships do not require a social security or proof of citizenship. They can come from universities, private organization, corporations and churches. Make sure you do NOT miss the university scholarships these are the best scholarships you will be able to get. Also make sure you apply for some local scholarships these are easiest to get. You will need to do some research on the websites listed to determine which scholarships you are eligible for. Remember, there is NO limit to the number of scholarships that you may apply for. Schools will send you a letter of acceptance or rejection, or inform you that you are missing information. Contact the admissions office if you do not hear anything in four weeks. If missing documents, submit them as soon as possible. When you decide where you will attend, fill out necessary housing applications if you want to live on campus. Register for an Orientation Session, there you will learn more specific information about the school of your choice. Some orientation sessions have a fee, but there is usually a free one available at the end of the summer. University Leadership Initiative 1 University Station, A 6220, SOC #206, Austin, TX 78712, 10

13 GUÍA DE SOLICITUD UNIVERSITARIA PARA ALUMNOS INMIGRANTES EN TEXAS (SB1528) OBJETIVO DESCRIPCIÓN Matricúlate y toma los exámenes de admisión universitaria SAT y ACT Determina a cuales universidades vas a solicitar y obtén la solicitud de admisión. Si estas solicitando a una institución publica de Texas, puedes utilizar la solicitud Apply Texas por internet aún sin tener un número de Seguro Social (SSN) Obten una forma de declaración jurada de la ley SB1528 Affidavit of Intent. Completa la declaración jurada ( Affidavit of Intent ) y certifícala con un notario público. Somete tu solicitud a cada universidad antes de la fecha límite. Guarda copia de todos los documentos que envíes por correo! Completa la solicitud de ayuda económica (FAFSA o TAFSA) lo más pronto posible después del 1º de enero. Solicita para becas antes de las fechas límites. Dale seguimiento al proceso. Completa la aplicación de dormitorio Regístrate para las sesiones de orientación Estos exámenes son ofrecidos los sábados varias veces al año. Solicita que tus resultados sean mandados a las universidades que estás solicitando admisión. Si eres elegible para almuerzos reducidos o gratis, tu consejero/a de la secundaria (preparatoria) te podrá brindar un cupón de descuento ( fee waiver ) para no tener que pagar por las pruebas. Las solicitudes de admisión están disponibles en los sitios web de las universidades o en las oficinas de admisión. Si estas considerando una institución privada, contacta a la oficina de admisión para ver si puedes someter una solicitud por internet sin tener un SSN. Si estas llenando la solicitud Apply Texas: En la pregunta que pide tu número de seguro social deja el espacio en blanco. En la pregunta sobre una visa, contesta lo que sea cierto. No digas que tienes visa si no tienes. Asegúrate de contestar SI a la pregunta que dice, Has residido en Texas los últimos 36 meses consecutivos de la escuela secundaria (preparatoria)? En la pregunta sobre tu legalidad en el estado de Texas, contesta SI. Al llenar la solicitud Apply Texas, asegúrate de imprimir esta hoja. Si estas solicitando a una universidad privada, llama a la oficina admisión y explica que eres un estudiante bajo la ley SB1528 y que necesitas la declaración jurada Affidavit of Intent. Nota que algunas instituciones prefieren que utilices una declaración jurada que éstas te proveerán en una hoja con el membrete oficial de la institución. Verifica si en tu escuela hay algún notario público; si no, tendrás que llevarlo a un notario en la comunidad. No debes pagar más de $6 por documento. El notario tendrá que verificar una tarjeta de identificación con foto. NO llenes el documento hasta que estés frente al notario. Necesitaras una hoja notariada original para cada universidad a la cual estés solicitando. Este documento te permitirá pagar la matricula del estado y recibir asistencia económica del estado. 1. Si estas usando una solicitud por internet, asegúrate de oprimir el botón de someter la solicitud. Si se puede, envía tu ensayo, resume, cartas de recomendación por la solicitud en internet. 2. Envía por correo los siguientes documentos a cada institución: a) expediente académico oficial sellado, b) cuota de solicitud (o cupón de descuento), c) declaración jurada notariada 3. Verifica que las universidades han recibido tus resultados del SAT y/o ACT. Solo podrás recibir asistencia del estado y no federal. Sin un SSN no puedes completar el FAFSA por internet. Pregunta a tu universidad cual de las dos solicitudes en papel prefiere (FAFSA o TASFA). Puedes obtener estas solicitudes s través de tu centro de consejería escolar o por el internet como documentos PDF. Ambas formas deben imprimirse, completarse en papel y ser entregadas, personalmente, o por correo a la oficina de asistencia económica de la universidad. Recuerda, estas solicitudes NO se envían al gobierno federal! Muchas becas no requieren un número de seguro social ni pruebas de ciudadanía. Las becas pueden provenir de universidades, organizaciones privadas, corporaciones e iglesias. Asegúrate de solicitar a becas universitarias éstas probablemente sean las mejores becas que podrás recibir. Asegúrate también de solicitar a becas locales éstas son mas fáciles de ganar. Tendrás que hacer un poco de investigación para determinar a cuales becas puedes solicitar. Recuerda, NO hay límite de becas a las que puedes solicitar. Las instituciones te mandaran una carta de aceptación o de rechazo, o te escribirán para informarte que te faltan documentos. Debes contactar a la oficina de admisión si no has recibido noticias en cuatro semanas. Si faltan documentos, debes mandarlos de inmediato. Cuando decidas a que colegio o universidad asistirás, completa los documentos necesarios para solicitar vivienda si deseas residir en un dormitorio universitario. Durante estas sesiones aprenderás información mas especifica sobre la universidad que hayas escogido asistir. Algunas veces hay un costo, pero usualmente ofrecen una orientación gratis al final. University Leadership Initiative 1 University Station, A 6220, SOC #206, Austin, TX 78712, 11

14 APPLYING FOR FINANCIAL AID STEP BY STEP (For immigrant students who qualify under SB1528, formerly HB1403) Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. legal permanent residents do not qualify for federal financial assistance to pay for college. However, TX Senate Bill 1528, signed into law in August, 2005, makes it possible for these students in the state of Texas to be eligible for state-funded financial aid. You can get state financial aid at public and private universities, and at public community and technical colleges. SB1528 students are eligible to receive the TEXAS Grant and the Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG) at public four-year universities. They are eligible to receive the Texas Grant and the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG) at public two-year colleges or technical colleges. And at some private universities in the state, SB1528 students may be eligible for the Texas Equalization Grant (TEG). At any four-year institution, whether private or public, SB1528 students could be eligible to apply for a College Access Loan (CAL). This is a statefunded loan, which functions like a federal student loan in that the loan interest is very low, the loan interest is subsidized while the student is enrolled, and repayment of the loan does not begin until 6 months after the student is no longer enrolled in an institution of higher education. You will need to have a co-signer that will fill out a portion of the application, and this person must: a) be either a U.S. Citizen or a U.S. legal permanent resident, b) have good credit, c) be over 21 years of age. This person does not have to be a family member, but should understand that h/she will be responsible for repayment of the loan if the student does not pay in the future. You can find the CAL loan application at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board s website. To login to the application you will have to send them an request asking that they assign you a number to substitute for a Social Security number. To get all of these forms of financial aid, you and your parents must fill out the Texas Application for Student Financial Aid (TASFA), or depending on the university s preference, a paper copy of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In these applications you provide important information about your family s income and expenses. Colleges and universities will use the FAFSA or TASFA to determine how much state financial aid you are eligible for. You can find out which application a university prefers by calling the financial aid office, or by looking at the list on the back of the TASFA that includes the universities that accept the TASFA. If your college or university is not on that list, then they probably prefer that you submit a FAFSA application. You can download and print a copy of the FAFSA or the TASFA from the Internet: FAFSA TASFA You can also get these forms from your college advisor or counselor, and you can request them from the college admission or financial aid office. Both applications become available on January 1 st of every year. You must fill it out in the early Spring if you are planning to start college in the fall. The sooner after January 1 st you fill out and submit the FAFSA or TASFA, the greater your chances of getting good financial aid. It is highly recommended that you submit your TASFA or FAFSA to all institutions by March 31 st. Most high schools offer financial aid information sessions for students and parents. In February of each year Austin ISD offers a series of Financial Aid Saturdays at various high schools, where you and your parents can get assistance in filling out and submitting the FAFSA or the TASFA. Don t miss those!! Evangelina Orozco, Immigrant College Coordinator, Office of Bilingual Education/ESL, Austin ISD (512) , or send an to 12

15 When filling out the FAFSA or the TASFA, keep in mind: 1. You must make sure you qualify for Senate Bill 1528 talk to Evangelina Orozco, Immigrant College Coordinator with the Austin ISD Office of Bilingual Ed/ESL ( ). 2. If the university asks you to fill out the FAFSA, complete a paper FAFSA by filling out with a black pen. You cannot do the online FAFSA application because it requires a Social Security number. You can do it in either English or Spanish. 3. If the university prefers that you submit a TASFA, go to to download the application, fill it out on the computer, and print it out, OR you can get a paper TASFA and fill out with a black pen. The TASFA is also available in English or Spanish. 4. You must complete a separate application for each college/university you are applying to. Hand in directly, or mail in, a completed FAFSA or TASFA (with any required supporting documents) to the financial aid officer at the college(s)/university(s) you are applying to. Do not mail either of these forms to the federal or state government. 5. Remember that the FAFSA and TASFA ask about your and your parents income. Even if your parents do not file an income tax return, these forms can be filled out by putting down estimates of your household income. If your parents do file an income tax return but haven t filed yet this year, urge them to file as soon as possible because it is best if you have their income tax returns ready before filling out these applications. 6. If you are submitting a TASFA application, and your parents are planning to file an income tax return, then the TASFA requires that you submit copies of the income tax returns with the application. If your parents will not be filing an income tax return, then you can put down estimates of the annual income. Make sure to check with the university about any additional forms or supporting documents they may require if your parents are not filing an income tax return. 7. If submitting a FAFSA, at the top of the first page, write your name, student ID and SB1528, so that your FAFSA gets processed appropriately. You do not have to do this if submitting a TASFA application. 8. If you are male, please read: The U.S. government requires that all males between the ages of 18 and 26 years old register with the Selective Service. You will not be able to receive funds from any institution of higher education if you are not registered, according to law. Therefore, all SB1528 male students must register by filling out a Selective Service registration card, signing it and mailing it in to the address on the card. You can find these cards at most post offices and some libraries. Also, your counselors or college advisors can help you find it. In 4-6 weeks after submitting the card (if 18 years old already) you will receive a letter which will include a registration number. You will need to submit this number to the financial aid office of your college as soon as possible. The letter will include a small card that you should detach and put in your wallet to keep with you at all times. This registration number is a good form of identification for other purposes as well. Evangelina Orozco, Immigrant College Coordinator, Office of Bilingual Education/ESL, Austin ISD (512) , or send an to 13

16 Procedures for Applying for College Financial Aid Students who ARE United States Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents Students who ARE NOT United States Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents GET a PIN # For you & parent GET FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) WORKSHEET from counselors In English/Spanish COLLECT PERSONAL DATA W-2 s & financial data Tax Return, if parents file Other documentation of cash income Check with colleges for additional financial aid application forms that may be required, such as CSS/PROFILE Check with counselor/college which form to use: FAFSA or TASFA GET TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid) and/or GET FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) **These students only qualify for state financial aid COLLECT PERSONAL DATA W-2 s & financial data Tax Return, if parents file Other documentation of cash income FILL OUT FAFSA ONLINE STUDENT AID REPORT (SAR) determines ESTIMATED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION (EFC) - U.S. Dept. of Ed. sends to you & your chosen colleges Check with Colleges for PRIORITY DEADLINE DATES If TASFA: Download, fill out on computer & print forms If FAFSA: Fill out paper copies by hand MAIL/HAND-IN FORMS DIRECTLY TO YOUR CHOSEN COLLEGE(S) ESTIMATED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION (EFC) will be determined by your chosen colleges FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE Based on EFC, colleges offer you a financial aid package (grants, scholarships, loans & work-study) FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE Based on EFC, colleges offer you a financial aid package (grants, scholarships & loans) REVIEW FINANCIAL AID PACKAGES Compare financial aid packages from colleges & make decision by deadline date set by colleges Evangelina Orozco Immigrant College Coordinator, Office of Bilingual Ed/ESL, Austin ISD (512) , REVIEW FINANCIAL AID PACKAGES Compare financial aid packages from colleges & make decision by deadline date set by colleges 14

17 Overview: Dispelling Myths Because immigration is a highly charged and emotional issue facing our society today, there are many misconceptions regarding undocumented students, especially concerning their options after high school. This section attempts to promote the facts as they pertain to immigrant students in Texas, and dispel some prominent misunderstandings. These selected factsheets are representative of the information available about immigration and educational access. 15

18 9 THINGS EVERY UNDOCUMENTED YOUTH SHOULD KNOW If you do not have legal immigration status in the United States, you are at risk. Keep these points in mind: 1. If approached by immigration authorities, do not sign any papers and do not talk to them unless you check with a lawyer first. 2. Stay out of trouble with the law. In some places, police will hand your name over to immigration authorities. In many places, the police will not do that but if you commit a crime, that will make it harder to get legal status in the future. 3. If you are charged with a crime, make sure your lawyer knows your immigration status. That will allow them to best help you. 4. Don t cross the border. Once you leave the country, you can t legally re-enter the U.S. 5. If you are working illegally, you should still pay taxes. This will improve your chances of getting legal papers in the future. See the section How to get a green card for more info. 6. If you re male, register for the Selective Service when you turn 18. The immigration police will NOT see your information. Like paying taxes, this will make it easier to get legal papers in the future. 7. If at all possible, try to become a legal resident. See the section How to get a green card. 8. Having a child will not help you become legal. Some people believe this, but it is not true. A child can only help its parent get papers if the child is over 21 years old. 9. Do not lie and say you are a U.S. citizen when you are not. This could hurt your chances of ever getting a green card or get you deported. 16

19 Immigration Basics WHO IS AN IMMIGRANT? According to U.S. law, an immigrant is a foreign-born individual who has been admitted to reside permanently in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). HOW DO IMMIGRANTS GET ADMITTED TO PERMANENTLY RESIDE HERE? Typically, a foreign-born individual seeking to become an LPR can do so in one of three ways: Through family-sponsored immigration, a U.S. citizen can sponsor his or her foreign-born spouse, parent (if the sponsor is over the age of 21), minor and adult married and unmarried children, and brothers and sisters. A Lawful Permanent Resident can sponsor his or her spouse, minor children, and adult unmarried children. Our immigration system divides the family members eligible for sponsorship into two tiers. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens that is, spouses, unmarried minor children and parents, but not brothers and sisters or unmarried and married adult children are admitted as their applications are processed. Through emplo yment-based immigration, a U.S. employer can sponsor an individual for a specific position where there is a demonstrated absence of U.S. workers. By winning one of a limited number ofi mmigrant visas available in the annual diversity visa lottery that is open to immigrants from certain countries. WHO IS A REFUGEE? A refugee is a person outsideof the United States who seeks protection on the grounds that he or she fears persecution in his or her homeland. To obtain refugee status, a person must prove that he or she has a wellfounded fear of persecution on the basis of at least one offi ve specifically-enumerated and internationally recognized grounds. Those grounds include the person s race, religion, membership in a social group, political opinion, or national origin. A per son who has already entered the United States, and who fears persecution if sent back to his or her country, may apply for asylum here. Once granted asylum, the person is called an asylee. Like arefugee, an asylum applicant must also prove that he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution based on the same enumerated grounds. Both refugees and asylees may apply to become LPRs after one year. WHO IS AN UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT? An undocumented immigrant is a person who is present in the United States without the permission of the U.S. government. Undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. either illegally, without being inspected by an immigration officer, or by using false documents, or legally, with a temporary visa, and then remain in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of the visa. WHO IS A NON-IMMIGRANT? A non-immigrant is an individual who is permitted to enter the U.S. for a period ofl imited duration. Nonimmigrants include: students, tourists, temporary workers, business executives, diplomats, artists and entertainers, and reporters. Depending on where they are from and the purpose of their visit, non-immigrants may be required to apply for and obtain a visa from the U.S. government. The application process entails an interview with a U.S. consular official in the nearest U.S. consulate, who has the sole authority to grant or deny a visa. Even if granted, the visa is merely a travel document. All non-immigrants regardless of whether they have a U.S. visa must also pass immigration inspection upon arrival in the U.S. WHO IS A NATURALIZED CITIZEN? Lawful Permanent Residents are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through a process called naturalization. To qualify for naturalization, applicants generally must reside in the U.S. for five years (three if they are married to a US. citizen) without having committed any serious crimes, show that they have paid their taxes and are of good moral character, and demonstrate a knowledge of U.S. history and government as well as an ability to understand, speak, and write ordinary English. WHAT S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REFUGEE AND AN ASYLEE? Refugees and asylees are people seeking protection in the U.S. on the grounds that they fear persecution in their homeland. A refugee applies for protection while outside the United States. An asylee differs from a refugee because the person first comes to the United States and, once here, applies for protection. Refugees generally apply in refugee camps or at designated processing sites outside their home countries. In some instances, refugees may apply for protection within their home countries, such as in the F ormer Soviet Union, Cuba, and Vietnam. If accepted as a refugee, the person is sent to the U.S. and receives assistance through the refugee resettlement program. 17

20 JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS a journey of hope HOW DOES SOMEONE GAIN REFUGEE STATUS? To qualify for refugee resettlement in the U.S., a person must come from a country designated by the Department of State. The person must meet the definition of a refugee by proving that she has a well-founded fear of persecution. The refugee applicant must prove that this fear is based on the possibility of persecution because of her race, religion, membership in a social group, political opinion, or national origin. In addition, a refugee must fit into one of a set of priority categories, which factor in degree of risk to the refugee s life, membership in certain groups of special concern to the U.S., and existence of family members in the U.S. A person claiming refugee status must undergo a vigorous screening process before being resettled in the U.S. First, the person is screened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to determine if she qualifies as a refugee under international law. If she qualifies, she next is screened by the U.S. embassy in the host country, which contracts with private organizations to collect personal information about refugees. The embassy will check the name of the refugee in its Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS), which contains the names of millions of persons who have been denied visas, or who may be otherwise ineligible for entry into the U.S. If she passes that test, an officer from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts a face-to-face interview and reviews the file. The refugee is then photographed and fingerprinted by the State Department. Certain refugees must receive clearance from the FBI. If no problems arise in all of this screening, the refugee proceeds to the U.S., where an inspector from the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection conducts one more interview and compares the refugee with host country U.S. embassy records. While these redundant checks ensure that no one who is not entitled to refugee status will get it, they have greatly slowed the admissions system, and hampered our ability to protect vulnerable individuals. Thousands of refugee slots have gone unused in recent years, even as the admission ceilings have been greatly reduced from those of the recent past. Without additional resources, the U.S. is falling short of its commitment to protect refugees. After refugees have been in the U.S. for one year, they are eligible to become permanent residents. There is no limit to the number of refugees who may become permanent residents each year. FAMILY-SPONSORED IMMIGRATION Family-sponsored immigration is the way U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents bring family members from other countries to live permanently in America. Citizens may sponsor only their spouses, children, parents (if the citizen is older than 21 years), and brothers and sisters (if the citizen is older than 21 years). LPRs may sponsor only their spouses and unmarried children. Neither citizens nor LPRs may bring in more distant family members, such as aunts, uncles, and cousins. Our immigration system divides the family members eligible for sponsorship into two tiers. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens that is, spouses, unmarried minor children and parents, but not brothers and sisters or unmarried and married adult children are admitted as their applications are processed. NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS Non-immigrants are tourists, students, and other persons who come temporarily to the U.S. for pleasure, business, study, diplomacy, or other purposes on an alphabet soup of visa categories. The total number of immigrants family-sponsored, employment-based, and diversity immigrants is small compared to the number of people who come here for short periods of time. These non-immigrants outnumber immigrants by about 30 or 40 to 1. In fiscal year 2003, nearly 28 million persons came to this country temporarily. Of those, more than 24 million came here as tourists or business visitors. VISAS FOR TOURISTS AND BUSINESS VISITORS The vast majority of people coming to the U.S. temporarily do so for tourism or business. In most countries, these individuals must obtain a visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate. In reviewing an application for a temporary visa, U.S. immigration law requires consular officers to ensure that the applicant does not intend to stay permanently. Therefore, a visa applicant must prove that he or she plans to return on or before the time the visa expires. The applicant can do this by showing that he or she has a residence outside the U.S. and other ties that will insure he or she will return before the expiration date of the visa. In addition to proving they are not intending immigrants, visa applicants are fingerprinted and photographed, and information about them is check against government databases of persons who are ineligible to enter the U.S. because of criminal activity, past visa problems, or links to terrorist groups. VISAS FOR STUDENTS Over one-half million students come to the U.S. each year. A person is considered a student if he or she comes to the U.S. to enroll in coursework of 18 hours or more per week. To obtain a student visa, a person must first apply to a U.S. academic institution, be accepted, and receive an immigration form I-20 from the school. The student must then apply for a visa at a U.S. Consulate in his or her home country. Among the things the student may need to show in the visa application process are acceptance to a U.S. school, availability of sufficient funds to cover all expenses for the entire course of study without resorting to employment in the U.S., evidence of family and/or economic ties to the home country sufficient to induce him or her to return after completing the coursework and, if required by the school, proficiency in English. Students are usually allowed to remain in the U.S. for the duration of their studies. If there is any change in the student s status that is, if his or her coursework drops below the minimum required, or if the student changes field of study the school is required to report this information to the government. The increased scrutiny of visa applications for students in recent years has led to months-long delays for some students, and a perception that the U.S. is a less-welcoming place to study. For the first time in three decades, enrollment of foreign students in U.S. colleges and universities fell in Information about foreign students is collected via the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System 18

21 JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS a journey of hope (SEVIS), an internet-based system which maintains immigration status information, such as admission at a port of entry, as well as personal and academic information about students, such as their course load, field of study, current address, and other information. Any change in this information must be reported to the government by the school, using SEVIS. The schools themselves must have permission to enroll foreign students. Most U.S. colleges and universities have been approved by the government to enroll foreign students. With the requisite permission, other institutions including vocational schools, junior colleges, public high schools, and language training schools may also enroll foreign students. VISITORS NOT REQUIRED TO OBTAIN VISAS Canadians crossing over the U.S. border are generally not required to have avisa. Citizens from the 27 participating countries in the Visa Waiver Program also are not required to obtain a visa if they are planning to come to the U.S. for business or pleasure for a period of 90 days or less. However, there are strict conditions under which people may come to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program they must have valid, machinereadable, passports; their stay is limited to a maximum of 90 days; they must have round-trip tickets, if they arrived by air or sea; and they must have proof of financial solv ency. If they do not have a machinereadable passport, they must apply for and obtain a visitor visa. The U.S. places strict rules on the participating countries before they are admitted to the Visa Waiver Program. First, the non-immigrant visitor visa refusal rate (the rate of visa applications denied by U.S. consular officers) must be three percent or less for the previous fiscal year. Second, the participating country must offer reciprocal visa-free travel for U.S. citizens. Third, the country must have a machine readable passport program in place. Fourth, the country must be politically and economically stable. Fifth, the participating country must have effective border controls for its own borders. Sixth, law enforcement agencies in the participating country must be cooperating with their U.S. counterparts. Finally, the U.S. considers any possible security concerns that might be raised, should a country be admitted to the program. Countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norw ay, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Regardless of whether they have a visa, arriving foreigners are fingerprinted and photographed through the USVISIT program, which eventually will be deployed to become a regular part of the inspection procedure at all land, air, and sea ports of entry. Foreigners leaving the country will again have to check in with US-VISIT so that the Department of Homeland Security will have information on whether the visitor complied with the terms of his or her stay. By February 2005, the program had not been fully implemented, but procedures to collect information from foreigners exiting the U.S. were being tested at a number of airports. NATURALIZATION Naturalization is the process by which eligible legal immigrants become U.S. citizens. Through the naturalization process, immigrants display a willingness to become full members of our society. The process is not an easy one. It requires that immigrants live in the U.S. for a certain number of years, learn our language, study our history and government, show that they are of good moral character and have not committed serious crimes and, finally, swear allegiance to the United States. Over time, most immigrants become citizens. THE NATURALIZATION PROCESS Eligibility: An applicant for citizenship must be at least 18 years of age, and must have resided continuously in the U.S. as a Legal Permanent Resident for at least five years prior to filing. Permanent residents who have been married to a U.S. citizen for three years are eligible to apply for citizenship. There are special expedited provisions for immigrants serving in the armed forces during a designated period of armed conflict. Children who are adopted from another country automatically have U.S. citiz enship conferred to them as long as one or both parents are U.S. citiz ens, the child is under 18, and the child is legally residing in the U.S. with the U.S. citizen parent or parents. Immigrants must be of good moral character, usually determined by checking with the FBI for any record of a criminal background. A person must also demonstrate an ability to speak, read, and write ordinary English and have a general understanding of U.S. government and history. Long-time older permanent residents are exempt from the English requirement if they are 50 years or older and have been living in the U.S. for at least 20 years, or if they are 55 years or older and have been living in the U.S. for at least 15 years. These immigrants must still demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government, but they may do so in their native language. Certain persons with disabilities are exempt from the requirement to demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government. Interview: After submitting an application and fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigra tion Services (USCIS), an appointment is made with the applicant to take his or her fingerprints, which are checked by the FBI. An interview is then scheduled with the applicant, during which an immigration examiner reviews the application and determines if the applicant meets the requirements for U.S. citizenship. To demonstrate English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and government, the applicant must be prepared to answer several history and civics questions. They may also be asked to read a sentence or brief passage from a USCIS textbook, and to write a sentence dictated by the examiner. Oath and Swearing-In: Approved candidates for citizenship must take an Oath of Renunciation and Allegiance, giving up foreign allegiances and 19

22 JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS a journey of hope titles and swearing to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the U.S. If the person has a severe disability preventing him or her from understanding, or communicating an understanding of, the meaning of the Oath, the person may obtain a waiver of the Oath requirement. The final step in the naturalization process is the swearing-in ceremony, which can take place before a judge or in an administrative ceremony. WHAT PUBLIC BENEFITS DO IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES RECEIVE? Determining whether or not an immigrant qualifies for public benefits is a complicated matter. Eligibility for benefits depends on a number of factors, among them: her immigration status; whether or not she entered the U.S. before or after the 1996 welfare reform law was enacted (August 22, 1996); length of residence in the U.S.; her income and resources and the income and resources of the family member who sponsored her; work history; whether she is a child or adult; her state of residence; and the various other eligibility requirements of the particular benefits program. Most benefits programs are open only to long-term, lawful immigrants. A small number of programs (such as school lunch programs and emergency medical services) are open to all people in need. For federal means-tested public benefits, newly-arrived legal immigrants generally are: barred for their first five years in the U.S.; and subject thereafter to a process called deeming where the income and resources of the U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident sponsor of the immigrant are added to the immigrant s own income to determine whether the immigrant is poor enough to qualify for the benefit under the program s financial guidelines. Deeming continues until the new immigrant either becomes a citizen or works 40 qualifying quarters (at least 10 years). The work of a spouse (or of a parent in the case of a child under 18) also counts towards the 40 quarters. After becoming naturalized citizens, or working for 40 quarters, legal immigrants are generally eligible for federal and state programs provided they meet the general program criteria. SHOULDN T FAMILY SPONSORS BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE IMMIGRANT S CARE? They are. U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents wishing to sponsor an immigrant relative for admission to the U.S. must earn enough (125% of the poverty level for the family size, including the immigrant) to demonstrate that they are financially capable of supporting the immigrant so that the immigrant does not need to rely on public benefits. They also must sign a legally-enforceable affidavit of support. This document makes the sponsor liable for the immigrant s use of means-tested benefits until the arriving immigrant obtains citizenship or works 40 qualifying quarters (at least 10 years) without using means-tested services. ARE UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS ENTITLED TO ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES? While immigrants who are not here legally are ineligible for nearly all federal benefits, they are still eligible for certain very basic kinds of assistance, including: emergency Medicaid, immunizations, testing and treatment for the symptoms of communicable diseases, short-term non-cash disaster relief, school lunches and breakfasts, and certain other programs essential to public health and safety. 20

23 Office of Communications Fact Sheet Updated: May 16, 2008 NATURALIZATION THROUGH MILITARY SERVICE Members and certain veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to apply for United States citizenship under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In addition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has streamlined the application and naturalization process for military personnel and those who recently discharged. Generally, qualifying service is in one of the following branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, certain reserve components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. Qualifications A member of the U.S. Armed Forces must meet certain requirements and qualifications to become a citizen of the United States. This includes demonstrating: Good moral character; Knowledge of the English language; Knowledge of U.S. government and history (civics); and Attachment to the United States by taking an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. Qualified members of the U.S. Armed Forces are exempt from other naturalization requirements, including residency and physical presence in the United States. These exceptions are listed in Sections 328 and 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. All aspects of the naturalization process, including applications, interviews and ceremonies are available overseas to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. An individual who obtains U.S. citizenship through his or her military service and separates from the military under other than honorable conditions before completing five years of honorable service may have his or her citizenship revoked. Service in Peacetime Section 328 of the Immigration and Nationality Act applies to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces or those already discharged from service. An individual may qualify for naturalization if he or she has: Served honorably for at least one year. Obtained lawful permanent resident status. Filed an application while still in the service or within six months of separation. Service in Wartime All immigrants who have served honorably on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or as a member of the Selected Ready Reserve on or after September 11, 2001 are eligible to file for immediate citizenship under the special wartime provisions in Section 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This section also covers veterans of designated past wars and conflicts. 21

24 22 How to Apply Every military installation has a designated point-of-contact to assist with filing the military naturalization application packet. Once complete, the package is sent to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center for expedited processing. That package will include: Application for Naturalization (USCIS Form N-400) (Members of the military are not charged a fee to file the Form N-400.) Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (USCIS Form N-426) Biographic Information (USCIS Form G-325B) Posthumous Benefits Section 329A of the INA provides for grants of posthumous citizenship to certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Other provisions of law extend benefits to surviving spouses, children, and parents. A member of the U.S. Armed Forces who served honorably during a designated period of hostilities and dies as a result of injury or disease incurred in, or aggravated by, that service (including death in combat) may receive posthumous citizenship. The service member s next of kin, the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary s designee in USCIS must make this request for posthumous citizenship within two years of the service member s death. Under section 319(d) of the INA, a spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen, who dies while serving honorably in active-duty status in the U.S. Armed Forces, can file for naturalization if the family member meets naturalization requirements other than residency and physical presence. For other immigration purposes, a surviving spouse (unless he or she remarries), child, or parent of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who served honorably on active duty and died as a result of combat, and was a citizen at the time of death (including a posthumous grant of citizenship) is considered an immediate relative for two years after the service members dies and may file a petition for classification as an immediate relative during such period. A surviving parent may file a petition even if the deceased service member had not reached age 21. Statistics USCIS has naturalized more than 39,085 members of the U.S. Armed Forces since the beginning of the War on Terror. (September 2001) In October 2004, USCIS hosted the first overseas military naturalization ceremony since the Korean War. During this time and since, USCIS has naturalized more than 5,275 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines during ceremonies in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and in the Pacific aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. USCIS has granted posthumous citizenship to 115 members of the U.S. Armed Forces stemming from the War on Terror. Historically, the U.S. government has conducted overseas military naturalization ceremonies during times of war. During World War II, 20,011 service members were naturalized overseas. During the Korean War, 7,756 service members were naturalized overseas. Although authorized, no overseas military naturalization ceremonies were held during the Vietnam War. USCIS USCIS Military Help Line: CIS-4MIL ( )

25 N A T I O N A L I MMI G R A T I O N L A W C E N T E R W W W. N I L C. O R G Basic Facts about In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrant Students Revised: FEBRUARY 2009 Background Ten states currently have laws permitting certain undocumented students who have attended and graduated from their primary and secondary schools to pay the same tuition as their classmates at public institutions of higher education. The states are California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington. A majority of America s undocumented immigrants live in these states, and several other states are considering a similar change. In many of the states that have already done so, support has been strongly bipartisan and the vote lopsided in favor of the bill. For example, in the Illinois General Assembly, the vote in the House was 112 to 4 and, in the Senate, 55 to 1. Requirements of These Laws To qualify, all ten states that already have such laws require the students to have: 1. attended a school in the state for a certain number of years; 2. graduated from high school in the state; and 3. signed an affidavit stating that they have either applied to legalize their status or will do so as soon as eligible. These laws also provide that U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet these requirements but no longer live in the state are able to qualify for the same tuition rate. Intent and Impact of These Laws These bills are primarily intended to help children of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents and work hard in school with the hope of going to college but then discover that they face insurmountable obstacles. Currently, public colleges and universities are inconsistent in their treatment of such students. A few schools deny them admission. If they are admitted, students in most states are charged out-of-state tuition, which is several times the in-state tuition rate. They are not eligible for federal financial aid, and the average income of parents of such children is low. Even those who are eligible for in-state tuition almost always have to work at full-time jobs throughout their college careers. In the current context, very few of these students attend college. Experience in the states that have passed in-state tuition bills suggests that such legislation does not deprive the states of the revenue from large numbers of students who would otherwise pay out-of-state tuition. Rather, it raises the percentage of high school graduates who pursue a college degree. LOS ANGELES (Headquarters) 3435 Wilshire Boulevard Suite 2850 Los Angeles, CA fax WASHINGTON, DC 1444 Eye Street, NW Suite 1110 Washington, DC fax 23

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