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Immigrants Race to Outgrow Citizens With College/University Degrees

Immigrants seem bent to acquire as much college and university education as possible to live the American dream.

The U.S. Census Bureau revealed that immigrants now hold more college degrees than native American citizens. They have come to see education as the only channel to overcome poverty and become someone of value in the United States.

Victor Galvan, a director at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said immigrants strive to obtain quality education to justify their parents’ decision to relocate to the U.S. and to make headway in the country.

Education and Citizenship Are Two of the Most Important Things to Immigrants

The number of graduates with advanced degrees has doubled in the U.S. since 2000, Courthouse News reported. As at 2019, 21 million American citizens age 25 and older possess Master’s degrees and 4.5 million others possess doctorate degrees.

About 35 percent of American citizens and 39 percent of immigrants who have arrived since 2000 hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher. And 31 percent of immigrants now have a college degree since their arrival in the U.S. in the 1990s. The Census Bureau revealed that 38.4 percent of naturalized citizens and 39.6 of children of immigrant parents possess college degrees.

“Once you become a U.S. citizen, you have access to higher education, you can improve your income, you can become a homeowner and you can become more active in the civic, economic, and political life of the city,” said Ricardo Gambetta, director of international and immigrant affairs in Aurora, Colorado. “So for us, education and citizenship are two of the most important programs.”

According to the Census Bureau, most college graduates earn 3.7 times more than those who have dropped out of high school.

Hispanics Make up the Largest Workforce but Not Taking Advantage of Quality Education

Hispanics, however, have not fully taken advantage of the educational opportunities in the U.S., considering that employment opportunities are getting wider in the science, technology and education sectors. This assertion was made by Dr. Antonio Flores, president of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

Flores said more Latinos are born in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, underscoring the importance of accessing education. He added that Latinos make up the largest workforce and their productivity keeps the economy running, raising the need for higher education.

To show that people of other races are becoming more educated, whites now make up only 10 percent of college enrollment, compared to the two-thirds they occupied in 2007.

Rebecca Fernandez Martinez, senior academic advisor at Community College of Denver, advised everyone at the school to balance family and work commitments with study since education is now a necessity for all.


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