FAQ for DACA/Undocumented Students
July 31, 2017
- I have not yet applied for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) , Should I apply now?
If you do not currently have DACA and are considering whether to apply for the first time, we recommend that you first consult with the Office of International Student Services (OISS) for Immigration attorney resources. Initial DACA applications may take up to 8 months to process at this time. Given the uncertainty about DACA, new applicants run the risk of losing the filing fee which is $495. Also, giving your contact information, immigration history and other important information to DHS could potentially be used by the government to initiate removal proceedings.
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 OISS for immigration attorney resources before submitting a renewal application.
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rather than by Congress or an agency’s notice-and-comment rule-making, most legal experts agree that it can be rescinded by the President without any further act of legislation or formal federal rulemaking.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 OISS for Immigration attorney resources.
4. I am a student with DACA status, is it ok to travel at this time?
Individuals on DACA may make a request for advance parole to travel from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, given the uncertainty regarding whether changes may be implemented to DACA by the Trump Administration, immigration experts are currently recommending that undocumented students not travel outside of the U.S., regardless of whether they have DACA status and have been granted advance parole.
5. I received Advance Parole to Study Abroad next semester. Should I still go ahead?
If President Trump repeals DACA while you are abroad, you may or may not be permitted to re-enter the United States upon your return, with or without Advance Parole.
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.
However, because we are not sure what the Trump administration will do with respect to DACA, immigration specialists are recommending that people with DACA not travel abroad at this time. Please be advised that you will be expected to create an alternative plan if denied re-entry in writing and submit it to the OISS office for review. We also recommend that you arrange to have an attorney standing by, available by phone, when you return to the U.S. so they can provide real-time advice if the immigration officer tries to prevent you from entering. Even if you’ve received advance parole, people with DACA may find it harder under the present administration to be admitted into the U.S. after they’ve traveled abroad, and it is uncertain that you will be allowed back into the U.S. if you leave.
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 OISS to get information on Immigration attorneys.
9. What kind of Safety Plan should I come with?
Have your immigration information in a place that is quickly accessible and 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: