The International Youth Association (“TIYA”) is a project of The Black Institute. TIYA is composed of a group of young men and women, mostly from the Caribbean, whose parents were recruited to teach by the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) from 2001-2006. Approximately 300 children emigrated with their parents during this period.
While their parents continue to face a myriad of problems with the immigration process and their status within the DOE, the children of these teachers face a unique struggle. Many of their parents began the petitioning process for permanent residency a couple of years after arrival. As a consequence, the children of Caribbean teachers are steadily becoming undocumented as they “age out” of legal immigration status. “Aging out” means, once these young people become 21 years of age they are no longer considered dependents of their parents and cannot become permanent residents.
This group of young adults cannot access the most basic amenities like their citizen counterparts as they are excluded from the simplest rights and benefits.
Currently the members of TIYA are:
- Unable to work legally and therefore forced into an underground economy where they are often mistreated and paid far below the minimum wage
- Barred from obtaining driver’s license or state identification
- Subject to deportation
- Forced to continue their post-secondary education if they become F-1 international students to preserve their legal status
- Prohibited from accessing scholarships, grants and any form of public tuition assistance,
- Disqualified from remaining on their parents’ health insurance once they have “aged out,” or accessing health coverage on their own
To solve their issues, the members of TIYA ask for the following:
- Permanent residence
- Work authorization
- State issued identification