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The Presidents’ Alliance compiled this resource, Higher Ed Components of Key Immigration Legislation Impacting Undocumented Students, which explores the higher education components of recent and ongoing immigration legislative efforts. Congress is considering a wide variety of pieces of legislation, and each of them address different higher education priorities. This chart provides an overview of each bill’s provisions. For more information about Dreamer-specific legislation, click here.

  1. For more information regarding this document and related legislative and statutory language, please contact the Presidents’ Alliance at jose@presidentsalliance.org.
  2. See generally Immigration Registry: A Potential Pathway to Citizenship for Many Immigrants, FWD.us (Apr. 15, 2021), https://www.fwd.us/news/immigration-registry/.
  3. Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), restricts the ability of states to offer in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students based on residency unless all citizens of the United States are eligible for those benefits regardless of state residency.
  4. Conditional Permanent Residency (CPR) is treated as Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) for all purposes but naturalization, which would make beneficiaries eligible for federal financial aid like Pell grants, federal loans, and work-study, even without explicit language stating so.
  5. Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) bars “state and local public benefits” for “non-qualified” (undocumented) immigrants (which can include in-state tuition, state financial aid, and even admission) unless the state passes an affirmative law making them explicitly eligible. Federally, PRWORA restrictions prohibit federal financial assistance to immigrant students, making it significantly harder for them to begin, continue, and complete their education. On the state level, PROWRA essentially sets a default state of play where immigrants are excluded from a variety of state-based higher ed assistance and requires the state or state agency to take affirmative action to expand eligibility. For more information on these state policies, see https://www.higheredimmigrationportal.org/. For more information on crafting legislation to expand access in light of PROWRA, see the Presidents’ Alliance Legislative Recommendations Regarding Immigrant Students, Higher Education Access, Federal Financial Aid, and Professional and Occupational Licensure.
  6. PRWORA includes a federal and state prohibition on federal professional and occupational licensing for “non-qualified aliens,” including undocumented immigrants. Occupational licensure has a direct higher education connection because many students cannot utilize their higher education degree after graduation in their desired fields without licensure. Over 1,100 different occupations require a license and approximately 25 percent of all workers nationwide are required to obtain a license in order to work in their occupations. For more information on licensure, see Expanding Eligibility for Professional and Occupational Licensing for Immigrants.
  7. Conditional Permanent Residency (CPR) is treated as Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) for all purposes but naturalization, which would make beneficiaries eligible for professional, commercial, and business licensing.
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