ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: April 19, 2017

Undocumented, would-be scientists face uncertain future in U.S.

"Undocumented students remain in the shadows of the chemical sciences"
Chemical & Engineering News

Scores of undocumented immigrant youth in the U.S. who are pursuing careers in the chemical sciences and related fields face an uncertain future in this country. This week’s cover story in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, provides an in-depth look at the issue.

Linda Wang, a senior editor at C&EN, spoke with several undocumented immigrants in the chemical sciences. Many of these students and chemistry professionals have benefited from a 2012 Obama Administration immigration policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows some undocumented youth who entered the U.S. as minors to apply for deferred action from deportation as well as temporary work permits. But their future remains in limbo as President Donald J. Trump considers policies to crack down on undocumented immigrants. Even if DACA remains unchanged, however, there are virtually no avenues aside from marrying a U.S. citizen to legalize a person’s status.

Currently, 20 states offer in-state college tuition to students who meet eligibility requirements, including undocumented students. In addition, several universities, including the University of Washington and the University of South Florida, encourage faculty and staff to participate in UndocuAlly programs, which train them on how to support the undocumented student population. Although the current political climate and recent news of deportations are making some undocumented workers and students retreat into the shadows, many who spoke with Wang said it was important to share their stories.

Note: ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies.