FAQ for DACA/Undocumented Students
July 10, 2019
- I have not yet applied for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) , Should I apply now?
If you do not currently have DACA you are currently unable to apply for the program. It is uncertain if the program will be reinstituted in the future, but it may make sense to put aside money for an immigration attorney and filing fees in anticipation of changes.
2. I currently have DACA, but it expires soon. Should I file a DACA renewal application?
DACA continues to be in place, at this time, and our office is helping students with their DACA renewal applications. Applicants must understand that DACA program could be terminated by President Trump before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is able to review and approve your renewal application, and we are unsure of what USCIS will do with the pending renewal applications. So, there is a chance your application may not be approved and you may lose the filing fee. We encourage you to consult with the International Student Center for immigration attorney resources before submitting a renewal application. As of June 28th the Supreme Court announced it will review the cases challenging the rescission of the DACA program, however renewal applications will still be accepted.
3. I currently have DACA. Will I still be able to work with my DACA work permit under the current administration?
Because DACA was created by executive action in the prior administration, rather than by Congress or an agency’s notice-and-comment rule-making, most legal experts agree that it can be rescinded by the President without any further act of legislation or formal federal rulemaking. The Administration could let DACA expire, without allowing for renewal after the current period of work authorization expires, so that work authorization would be valid only through the time period listed on the card. The process for revoking currently valid work authorization requires notice to the holder of work authorization and would be challenging to administer. As of now, it is unclear what action, if any, the new Administration will take against DACA recipients. Additionally, there may be other legal options for you to work in the U.S., so, you may wish to speak with an attorney to determine if you are eligible for some other form of immigration protection. Please consult with the International Student Center for Immigration attorney resources.
4. I am a student with DACA status, is it ok to travel at this time?
USCIS is not currently accepting advanced parole applications so travel is not recommended if you wish to return to the U.S.
5. I received Advance Parole to Study Abroad next semester. Should I still go ahead?
If the courts make a decision while you are abroad you may be unable to return to the U.S.
6. I have DACA and was planning to take a trip outside the states. Should I still go?
If you have DACA and want to continue living in the U.S., you should never travel abroad unless you have applied for and received advance parole from USCIS. Advance parole is permission from USCIS to return to the U.S. after traveling abroad. Advanced parole applications are currently not being accepted by USCIS.
7. If I have DACA will I be deported if the DACA program is terminated?
If the DACA program is terminated and your grant has expired, you do not have a right to continue living and working in the United States. However, that doesn’t mean that you will be automatically at greater risk of being deported than other undocumented immigrants.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers people who, for example, have felony criminal convictions or recent deportation orders as being “enforcement priorities.” DHS assigns higher priority to detaining and deporting people who it considers enforcement priorities. People with DACA are considered “low priorities” for deportation, based on how long they’ve lived in the U.S., their ties to the U.S., and their not having committed serious crimes. Please be aware that the Trump administration may change these priorities.
8. Can I continue to travel to other states if I am undocumented or if I lose my DACA status?
Interstate travel has not been an issue for undocumented/DACA students so far. However, students should fully understand and evaluate the risk of doing so to themselves under the new political administration. The more you are in places where there are heightened security risks, like airports, the higher the risk of detention. Generally, if you travel by car, bus or train you are unlikely to have a problem unless you visit an area near a land border. For example, the Southern parts of California, Texas, Arizona, or in the North, in places like Niagara Falls, NY near the Canadian border. Border areas get increased scrutiny and you are more likely to encounter an immigration official. However, if you have a valid U.S. issued identification card, like a drivers license you are likely not to have a problem depending on what state you visit . When in doubt, please reach out to the International Student Center to get information on Immigration attorneys.
9. What kind of Safety Plan should I come up with?
Have your immigration information in a place that is quickly accessible and let a family member or friend with immigration status know where this information is so he or she can easily access it in case of an emergency.
Memorize the phone number of a qualified lawyer and of a family member or friend with lawful immigration status whom you can call if picked up by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Know what rights you have and what course of action you may take when speaking to enforcement officials. Under the U.S. Constitution, whether you are undocumented or not, you have, for example, the right to remain silent; the right to refuse to open your door to immigration or law enforcement officials who do not have a judicial warrant, the right to a lawyer and the right not to sign any document without first speaking with a lawyer.
10. For further information, see: