Illegal Students Face Obstacles Even After College

Monday, October 3, 2011

When Rhode Island became the thirteenth state to allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants at public colleges, supporters heralded the move as one that would give students the kind of advanced education they need to succeed in the work force.

But students who are not here legally may still face a major obstacle even with the benefit of a college degree: Many have no immediate pathway to legal status and, under current federal immigration law, employers cannot legally hire them.

"I know of students who have graduated magna cum laude and top honors in their colleges, but right now they're working minimum wage in restaurants," said Antonio Albizures-Lopez, 20, who came to the U.S. from Guatemala when he was 1.

Albizures-Lopez, who is pursuing legal residency, says the best solution is passage of federal legislation, known as the DREAM Act, which provides a pathway to legal residency for college students.

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