Betsy DeVos Blocks Emergency Aid For “Undocumented” Students

Trump’s Secretary of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, announced on Tuesday that “undocumented” students will not be eligible for emergency aid.

Many of these students are from the DACA program, and are, for some reason, eligible for all sorts of student aid.

Politico reports:

The Trump administration on Tuesday prohibited undocumented college students from receiving emergency federal cash assistance for expenses like food, child care and housing.

The economic rescue law passed by Congress gives $6 billion to colleges to dole out to students for expenses stemming from the disruption on campuses caused by the pandemic. But Education Department officials in new guidance said the money can go only to students who qualify for federal financial aid — U.S. citizens and some legal permanent residents.

That prevents undocumented students from accessing the money, although the law includes no explicit restrictions on which students could receive the emergency grants.

The group that won’t receive assistance includes hundreds of thousands of members of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has provided work authorization and deportation protections for undocumented people who were illegally brought to the United States as children or overstayed a visa. The Supreme Court is considering whether the program should continue and is expected to issue a decision by June.

The policy says that students must have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid — or at least be eligible to file the form, known as the FAFSA — in order to be eligible for the emergency aid. Undocumented students are not eligible for most types of financial aid provided by the federal government, though they qualify for assistance under some state-based financial aid programs.

Of course liberal heads are exploding, as Daily Kos spins it:

Education secretary and astroturf protester backer Betsy DeVos has gone out of her way to block Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and other undocumented students from emergency pandemic funding the department received, Politico reports. That $6 billion is intended to assist students with expenses like childcare and housing, “but Education Department officials in new guidance said the money can go only to students who qualify for federal financial aid—U.S. citizens and some legal permanent residents.”

Luz Chavez Gonzales, a junior at Trinity Washington University, said DeVos’ “cruel” move affects her entire family. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I’ve become the sole provider of my household since my parents and younger siblings lost their jobs,” she said in a statement received by Daily Kos. “We’ve had to cut back and budget on essential items. DACA allows me to work, and with a health crisis and the uncertainty of an upcoming DACA Supreme Court ruling, my family could lose their only source of income.”

Education advocates like National Education Association slammed the department’s guidance, calling it a “heartless decision” and continued agenda of “division, xenophobia and scapegoating of immigrants.” Much of the nation is on pause right now as a matter of public health, but if there’s one thing the Trump administration won’t halt right now, it’s being hateful.

Common Dreams also put their own spin on the story:

Immigrant rights groups on Wednesday condemned the Trump administration’s decision to block undocumented students from a $6 billion aid program that the Education Department unveiled earlier this month, calling the exclusion needlessly “cruel.”

Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, called the move “cruel and outrageous.”

The Education Department’s new rule was issued two months before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling on whether the DACA program should continue.

As Cristina Jimenez, co-founder of youth-led immigrant rights group United We Dream, wrote on social media, DeVos’s guidance is just one of several attacks on immigrants by the Trump administration since the coronavirus pandemic began.


Thanks for sharing!