Illegal residents in US experience problems when awarded scholarships

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Residing in the U.S. (or any country) illegally can create quite a number of problems. One that has recently come to be noticed is that sometimes younger people who perform well in school actually, well, perform too well.

They are usually the children of foreign-born parents who came into the country with less than proper paperwork. There are many reasons and methods, but people should seriously consider the consequences of entry by illegal methods.

A single person attempting this activity may see some small benefits. However, many people wish to use this method so they may establish a new life. Maybe they dream of having their own business, merely a better job, or their own home in a country where they perceive greater opportunity. Usually they see an opportunity to raise a family.

This is where all that careful planning and deception can cause much more serious problems.

In the U.S. and many countries, many opportunities exist for students who perform well to be granted funds for further education. Based upon their merits as high-performing academics, they become noticed by corporations and government programs. Their school, which may not know the status of their residency, may also nominate them for scholarship programs or other awards.

And then the troubles may begin.

One recent example is a young man in a California high school who was in the best 250 out of 50,000 students to be awarded a corporate merit-based scholarship. He and his family were excited and happy, seeing an opportunity for him to go to college. He eventually qualified for over $40,000 in assistance.

However, when it was determined that he was not a United States citizen and that he was, in fact, a foreign born child of illegal migrant workers, the corporation withdrew the scholarship. Much more importantly, the attention he received as a result brought the U.S. Immigrations services down on himself and his entire family. One of the highest performing students in the American public school system and his family now face deportation. Worse, their illegal status also means extremely serious difficulty in applying for reentry under nearly every current program and visa category.

His case is not isolated. Many companies offer scholarships and other financial aid. Government assistance is also available in many areas. But students identified as illegal residents then bring down serious scrutiny on themselves and their families, often resulting in severe actions and consequences.

Previously, many corporations could offer such assistance without asking information about residency. Often, simply providing a Social Security number, even if it was invalid, would be enough. Under the current climate of immigration reform in most western economies, such behavior is growing nearly impossible. Further, the consequences of committing such fraud are that even more laws are broken and can result in even harsher penalties than merely residing in a country illegally.

Many people are sympathetic to young children who didn't have a choice how they were brought to their country. Many are model citizens and high performing, hard working members of their society. Because their parents tried to get ahead of millions of other people who were following the laws, there is little that can be done in many cases.