Program ‘legitimizes illegality,’ policy center director said
A Nevada university’s illegal immigrant assistance program promotes scholarships in partnership with an organization tied to George Soros and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s Undocumented Student Program “provides services, resources, and support to undocumented students and mixed-status families,” according to its website.
The program announced that applications are being accepted for scholarships in partnership with TheDream.US. This organization helps illegal immigrants attend American colleges and universities by giving up to $80,000 in aid, depending on in-state tuition, its website states.
On TheDream.US’s advisory board is Georgia Keohane, CEO of the Soros Economic Development Fund, TheDream.US’s website states.
Mark Krikorian, executive director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that favors lower immigration numbers, critiqued the Undocumented Students Program in an email to The College Fix.
“The problem with this kind of program, especially at a taxpayer-supported institution, isn’t so much the cost but rather the fact that it legitimizes illegality,” he wrote.
As Krikorian explained, the program promotes illegality by “blurring the distinction between those who have a right to be in the US (citizens and legal residents, obviously, but also people on foreign student visas) and those who do not.”
Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies, took issue with what she described as the “prioritization of the needs of illegally resident students.”
This emphasis “necessarily impinges on resources for U.S. students, whose families often have paid taxes to help subsidize the university over the years,” she wrote.
UNLV is one of many colleges and universities offering assistance to illegal immigrant students.
TheDream.US provides scholarships accepted at over 80 other schools nationwide, such as the University of South Florida, the University of Massachusetts Boston, the University of North Texas Dallas, and Nevada State University.
The Fix reached out twice by email to Undocumented Student Program resource coordinator Nayelli Lopez, UNLV’s special assistant to the vice president for diversity initiatives and chief diversity officer Yaa Obeng, and UNLV’s vice president of business affairs and CFO Casey Wyman, asking why UNLV runs the Undocumented Student Program, how the program is funded, and if they could specify any grants the program has received.
The Fix received an automatic out-of-office response from Lopez and no response from Obeng or Wyman. The Fix also left a voicemail with Lopez but has not received a response.
The awards potentially given to UNLV students for the 2023-24 academic year would pay for tuition and fees to $33,000 total for a bachelor’s degree, and some students may obtain an additional stipend of up to $6,000 for books, supplies, and transportation.
According to TheDream.US’s website, the organization “is the nation’s largest college and career success program for undocumented immigrant youth, having provided more than 10,000 college scholarships to Dreamers attending 80+ partner colleges in 20+ states and Washington, DC.”
“Undocumented students want to get a college education and help their families and communities prosper.”
Illegal immigrants may be granted admission to U.S. colleges and universities but are not acceptable for federal financial aid and have limited access to in-state assistance and tuition rates.
In October 2021, UNLV announced in a news release that the school was partnering with TheDream.US to help illegal immigrants attend college.
The Fix reached out by email twice each to TheDream.US’s media inquiries contact and scholarship information contact, receiving no responses other than an automatic reply.
The Fix reported in July on how Minnesota has expanded its free college tuition program to include some illegal immigrants.
On Dec. 18, 2023, the Nevada State University Undocumented Students Program posted to its Instagram that it partnered with TheDream.US to provide three paid internships at organizations in Southern Nevada.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correctly name Georgia Keohane as CEO of the Soros Economic Development Fund.
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