The Benefits of Education for Undocumented Youth

When making the journey to the United States, undocumented citizens
are faced with pressing challenges that are beyond comprehension. Their
main concern is coming to America in search of prosperity for themselves and
their families, leaving no room to acknowledge the trauma and mentally
draining circumstances of their arrival. Unfortunately, this results in difficulty in
obtaining citizenship and navigating new life in the U.S. What is ultimately a
saving grace in this battle, is the promise and use of education for

The presence of education in an undocumented individual’s life is
instrumental in their development of language and interpersonal skills as well
as simplifying the journey to gaining citizenship. When given an outlet to learn
and tackle the unimaginable, the perspective shifts from viewing constant
struggle to seeing promise and potential for growth. This is best reflected in a
TEDxLSCTomball presentation by Jose Zelaya where he details his
experiences immigrating from Honduras to the United States. Zelaya states
that, “higher education turned pain into generational power” in the sense that it
saved him and helped him comprehend a healing process and “served as a
method of therapy”.

Many that suffer trauma, anxiety, and depression would be able to
combat it with educational resources and reflect on their experiences as a
sign of undeniable strength rather than struggle and therefore, heighten their
confidence. School programs such as English as a Second Language or
implementation of a Dual Language curriculum create a regulated
environment that caters to their needs and decreases the presence of

Programs and organizations such as the Urban Experience Program,
Immigrants Rising, and RAICES are dedicated to providing the resources
necessary for the betterment and educational enrichment of undocumented
individuals in need of obtaining citizenship. There is a great presence of fear
and insecurity in terms of seeking help that greatly affects migrants. It is
because of the creation and assistance of these programs that lessens this
fear of the unknown and transforms it into fruition. The success stories of
immigrants are not limited to one category, as just the mere effort that is put
into educating one’s self to prosper in a system designed against them is
already an accomplishment in its own right.