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Immigrants Rising: Transforming Lives Through Education

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According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), there are about 1.3 million undocumented immigrants aged 18 to 24 living in the US. With a significant number of these being college-aged individuals, Immigrants Rising’s support and services are needed now more than ever.

Nearly 100,000 young undocumented immigrants across the nation who graduate from high school each year face limited educational and job opportunities because of their legal status, according to data released by MPI.

Immigrants Rising is a charitable organization based out of San Francisco that has empowered undocumented young people for over a decade.

Photo courtesy of Immigrants Rising / Facebook

Carrie Evans and Katharine Gin founded Immigrants Rising (formerly known as Educators for Fair Consideration) in 2006 after learning that undocumented students were disqualified from receiving financial aid, loans, and many private scholarships. At the time, there was little information on how these students could viably pursue higher education, so the pair worked diligently to provide resources and assistance to the undocumented community.

For Iliana G. Perez, the current Director of Research and Entrepreneurship at Immigrants Rising, the mission of the organization is very personal. When Iliana was just eight years old, her life would take an unexpected turn. Born in Hidalgo, Mexico, her parents risked it all in an attempt to provide her and her younger brother with a better life.

Growing up in the California Central Valley meant hard work, hot summers, and living in the shadows. She navigated the educational system as an undocumented student for 18 years until becoming a DACA recipient in 2013. As she reflects on how much being a DACA recipient helped her achieve a level of professional success she could only dream of before, she has grown increasingly concerned as the future of a new generation is riddled with angst and uncertainty. Today, Iliana presents her dissertation at Claremont Graduate University. She holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy, Evaluation and Reform, a dream turned into a reality, and one she hopes to help others achieve through her work at Immigrants Rising.

Immigrants Rising Group Photo
Photo courtesy of Immigrants Rising

Immigrants Rising continues to advocate por la causa (for the cause) ‘through personal, institutional and policy transformation.’ Each day, Katharine and her team are focused on helping today’s undocumented youth as well as pushing for long term, systematic change for future undocumented generations.

Learn more about Immigrants Rising and discover what you can do to help undocumented young people in your very own community.

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