The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program seeks to help those whose parents brought them to the United States illegally find a way to live and work in the country legally, but many DACA recipients continue to encounter hurdles. Currently, about 800,000 people living in the U.S. are DACA recipients, meaning they came to the country illegally through no fault of their own, but paving a path to legal citizenship and finding gainful employment are issues that continue to plague this community.
In one such situation, a DACA recipient who spent her entire life in the United States prepping for a career as a nurse found out that she will not be able to sit for the NCLEX nursing boards in her home state. Passing the NCLEX, which is the test that determines eligibility for a nursing license, is a critical component of the student’s eventual path to citizenship.
Roadblocks on the path to citizenship
If you, like so many others, identify as a DACA recipient and attend a college or university within the United States, you may understand all too well that you face struggles other, native-born college students typically do not. For example, as a non-U.S. citizen, you cannot take advantage of federal or financial aid opportunities, meaning you may have to work twice as hard as your peers to pay for your schooling.
However, for some DACA recipients, all that hard work may be for nothing if they are unable to move forward with their professional dreams. The student who recently found out she will not be able to sit for the NCLEX in her home state, for example, despite working multiple jobs to put herself through school, now has limited options. She could either withdraw from school entirely and get a refund for what she already paid, or she could continue schooling, despite knowing she would be unable to take her nursing boards.
Currently, only four states allow DACA recipients to sit for the NCLEX. If you are facing similar professional hurdles, you may be able to pursue other avenues on your path to citizenship.