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Undocumented Students Focus of Educator Conference

Some teachers, school counselors, and administrators have, in recent months, found themselves on the front lines of supporting undocumented immigrant youth who have been weighing whether to apply for a chance to avoid being deported.

The deferred action policy, announced last summer by President Obama, offers relief from deportation and the possibility of work authorization to eligible undocumented immigrants who are younger than 31 and who came to the United States before they were 16 years old. Since the policy took effect in August, school officials at all levels have become a critical source of documentation that applicants need to demonstrate eligibility. Among the basic criteria for applicants is proof that they are currently enrolled in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, or have obtained a GED.

To help all kinds of educators and student advocates be better equipped to support undocumented youth, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization called E4FC, or Educators for Fair Consideration, is hosting a daylong conference on Jan. 19 at the University of California, Berkeley. The conference will focus on how educators can help undocumented students apply for deferred action and to advocate for further federal immigration reform.

E4FC, as far as I know, is a unique organization in the landscape of pro-immigration reform groups that have sprung up in recent years, especially among those groups that favor a federal DREAM Act that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth. That's because its focus is on educators who work with immigrant kids—both in K-12 and higher education.

Saturday's conference marks the second one held by E4FC. The event will feature numerous workshops on a variety of topics, such as an update on national immigration reform efforts, how educators can help undocumented students pay for college, and how to support undocumented students in high school.

The E4FC website has all the conference details.

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