Funding the Education of Undocumented Immigrants

Article twenty-six of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states,

Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace (Tennant).

Education is a right that all human beings should be given access to, no matter the circumstance. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights simply states that as a human being, education is a necessity. Especially at a young age, children are needed to attend school to be able to learn right from wrong and attain some sort of structure and order. Education, in any individual, is necessary to better insure a nation as well. Education gives our future the opportunity to advance. Educating individuals will benefit our nation allowing improvement and success. No debate should even exist on whether or not people should be receiving an education. However, the funding of education has been an ongoing dispute when the issue of immigration is added into the equation. This issue is vividly portrayed in the picture below.

Although funding the education of undocumented immigrants is what I believe should be done, some believe otherwise. Advocating the spread of education to immigrants will only benefit our nation. Depriving individuals of their human right is not something I would want to be carrying on my shoulders. America’s view on funding education for illegal immigrants is controversial because children do not have the power to change what their parents predetermined for them. Documented or undocumented, American’s should fund the education of immigrants and fulfill their right to learning.

In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address,

he tackles the issue of education and immigration. Although he states that he wants to improve our efforts to protect our boarders, he advocates the education of the children of undocumented immigrants. President Obama understands that “some are the children of undocumented workers [who] had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet they live every day with the threat of deportation.  Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities.  But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us.  It makes no sense” (Obama). President Obama understands the situations of
most students and their families. He does not feel a need to punish and deprive students of education because they are not considered citizens of the United States due to their parents’ inability to attain papers. Although President Obama is understanding of undocumented students, he does not tolerate students being lazy and not caring about their education. President Obama clearly states his high expectation for the students in his nation. He motives students to excel in school so that he himself will be motivated to provide the best possible education for them. President Obama believes that our nation should “stop expelling talented, responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, who could be further enriching this nation” (Obama). President Obama supports the sponsorship of education to all human beings, complying to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With papers or without, President Obama does not consider the citizenship of individuals. Instead, he focuses on supplying all individuals located in his nation with access to education.

Programs that advocate the funding of undocumented immigrants are the Dream Act and the in-state tuition program. An article furthering President Obama’s idea talks about the Dream Act which allows young undocumented immigrants to attain citizenship by either joining in the armed forces or attending two years of school in more advanced education (Ebcohost). The Dream Act guides undocumented immigrants toward legal status.  The in-state tuition program ensures the rights of undocumented immigrants. The in-state tuition program promotes access to higher education and a more reasonable and affordable approach to schooling for students. In an NPR audio interview clip (calif-upholds-in-state-tuition-for-illegal-immigrants), a student explains how in-state tuition programs allow undocumented students “at University of California campuses [to pay] $10,302, while out-of-state students are charged $33,181” (Gonzales). This discount is extremely helpful for undocumented college students who have a hard time funding their education. Since financial aid is only eligible to citizens, in-state tuition is financially helpful to undocumented students. Although “the federal law clearly indicated the intention of Congress to stop states from granting discounted or in-state tuition to unlawful aliens,” the California law advocates in-state tuition to lessen the problems of undocumented students. (Gonzales). The federal and California law have different viewpoints but the California law is more focused on the rights and well being of the people. The fact that the national law does not favor the Universal Law of Human Rights by voting no on in-state tuition is bewildering. A national law regarding individuals’ education does not coincide with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating the privileges all human beings are entitled to. Regardless of status, no one should be deprived of education even if they do not have the papers and money to attain it themselves. As Americans, we should live up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ensure all individuals admission to their human rights.

If our world were designed in a way where only a certain amount of individuals were offered access to education, our nation would be greatly endangered.  A study has proven that “foreign-born adults have less education than native-born citizens [which] raise the rates of poverty, welfare use and lack of medical insurance” (USA Today). Providing education for individuals prevent undocumented immigrants from later getting into more problems. As a human right, education is crucial in the life of an individual. Attaining an education leads to great success for one’s future. Allowing all individuals to attend schooling for an adequate education advances those individuals in society and accomplish an adequate education. For most undocumented immigrants, their right to education has been terminated due to problems with funding. In order for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states “everyone has a right to education,” to be in full effect, Americans should be the advocators for this problem and aim toward education in their nation even for people that are alien to our country.

Annotated Bibliography

California Upholds In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrants. Rec. 17 Nov. 2010. Richard

Gonzales, 2010. 17 Nov. 2010. Web. 8 Feb. 2011.



This audio clip provides evidence for my argument. A 20-year-old college student tells

his story and experience of being an immigrant college student. His father is a Central American immigrant from El Salvador and his mother an immigrant from Philippines. After learning that he was undocumented, he later learned that he could attend a local junior college by simply paying in-state tuition rate, which is a discount given to students who attended California High Schools for three years. This audio clip is useful because I focus on the conflict between California law and federal law due to the federal statement “that says illegal immigrants may not receive benefits based on residency, or benefits unavailable to all citizens” (Gonzales). However, Schulman argues that since it is an ineligible task to give financial aid to undocumented immigrants, this in-state tuition is the best thing to do.

“Center Says Immigrants’ Lack of Education Hurts Country.” USA Today. ProQuest, 29 Nov.

2007. Web. 8 Feb. 2011.


In this database article, the Center of Immigration Studies promotes the idea that immigration should be limited due to its negative effect on the country. Statistics were taken and prove the fact that “foreign-born adults have less education than native-born citizens and raise the rates of poverty” (USA Today). The center counter argues my argument in fighting for the funding of immigrants to be disastrous because the funding is ruining our countries economy and is making it seem as though our country is open to illegal immigration when they are here illegally.

“Let Them Have a DREAM.” 397.8710 (2010): 16. EBCOhost. Web. 9 Feb. 2011.


This database article furthers the ideas that President Obama stated in the State of the Union Address. The Dream Act is criticized as just an ongoing problem that Obama says but does not endorse.  The article depicts much disappoint because the immigration problems in America are noticed but not enacted on. The Dream Act is a great idea but will evidently become a big mess. The Dream Act provides young undocumented immigrants education (if one spends at least two years) and citizen rights when apart of the armed forces. Once a student has attended two years of college or the military, they are considered to be legal US residents. Immigrants are open to many opportunities and should take advantage of these privileges wisely because it is a blessing.

Full Rights of Immigrants. 2005. Photograph. Answernational. 16 Oct. 2005. Web. 30

Jan. 2011.


I selected this image to best depict the issue of whether or not Americans should fund the education of undocumented immigrants. This picture depicts the struggle of immigrants who fight for their human rights, more importantly their right to education. As one can see to the left of the picture, these are immigrants are holding a sign saying, “Education is a Right!” Yes, immigrants do have the right to education but should this right be at the expense of Americans? Immigrants come to America because they would like to experience better opportunities such as education. Should America not advocate the education of immigrants and not allow them access to their full human rights?  The hundreds of immigrants voluntarily march with posters and signs in order to expand the awareness of full rights of immigrants. These immigrants feel they have been being treated unjustly and deserve to be given at least access to education. If I were to put myself in the shoes of these immigrants, I would be able to experience the ongoing effort for immigrants to receive their God-given human rights.

Obama Addresses Illegal Immigration and Education. Perf. Barack Obama. CBS,

25 Jan. 2011. Web. 9 Feb. 2011.

President Obama takes on the issue of protecting our boarders and enforcing laws in order to prevent illegal immigration. Obama does not blame children for their parents’ inability to be documented, instead he evidently brings awareness to our nation that we are allowing undocumented students receive advanced education, but we later send them back to their native land where they use the educated we funded against us. Although these children live in the United States and grew up as citizens, they live in fear of being caught with no papers. Obama believes that these children have nothing to do with their inability to have papers. He blames their parents for not being able to attain those papers for the children who are victims.

Tennant, David. We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

London: Frances Lincoln Children’s in Association with Amnesty International, 2008. Print.

This book states the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I use Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to support my claim stating that every person has the right to education. Article 26 further emphasizes a human’s right to education with no exceptions. I use a quote from Article 26 to introduce my essay with facts in order to drag my reader in.

Waters, Mary C., and Karl Eschbach. ” Immigration and Ethnic and Racial Inequality in

the United States.” Annual Review of Sociology 21 (1995): 419-46. JSTOR. Web.

2 Feb. 2011. <;.

This journal article further researches the ongoing issue of inequality towards immigrants such as the right to education. I am using this article because it looks into the struggles immigrants took on economically and socially. The journal article focuses on how immigrants need to adapt and how they are minorities therefore treated differently. This journal article justifies my argument stating that immigrants, due to ethnicity and racism, are treated unjustly in the United States. Biased issues dealing with education, employment, healthcare, etc. automatically become issues for immigrants. This journal article also looks into the affect immigration has on the children on recent immigrants and how this struggle will continue to flourish unless justice is given to all. Children are the main focus in this article due to their struggle to thrive for an education in a country that says to be “the land of opportunity” but seems to isolate immigrants from those opportunities.


I would like to thank my CAS 114B class for giving me ideas with my essay.

I would like to thank Professor Freya Rojo for guiding me in my writing.

I would also like to thank Professor Mitchell for helping me as well.

I would like to thank Mason Brown and Raz Zapanta for peer editing my essay.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: