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Undocumented Students

Undocumented Students Page

Each year, several thousand undocumented students graduate high school, many of whom have lived in the United States since childhood. Advising undocumented students can be difficult in uncertain times. This page provides resources and guidance for professionals.

On June 15, 2012, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the US as children. Under a directive from the Obama Administration's DHS secretary, these youth may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the US called “deferred action.” The Obama administration called this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

However, on September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced that it would rescind the 2012 DACA decision, ending the DACA program by March 5, 2018.  New applications filed after September 5 for DACA permits will be denied, and the future for current DACA recipients is unclear (the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo and frequently asked questions regarding the program’s wind down). NACAC opposes the decision to rescind DACA.

Since the termination announcement, Members of Congress are attempting to negotiate a solution for these students. 

In January 2018, Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered a halt to the federal government’s termination of the DACA program. Specifically, Alsup ordered the government to temporarily reinstate the DACA program and to announce a process by which DACA recipients can apply to renew their DACA status. In February 2018, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a similar injunction, determining that the Trump Administration did not offer legally adequate reasoning for ending the program. The Trump Administration filed an appeal of the California Court’s decision to the Supreme Court which was denied in February 2018, leaving the case to be heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. While additional appeals may be filed, DHS announced that it would resume processing renewal applications while litigation is ongoing; the court orders do not require the government to accept first-time applications for DACA, but do enable current recipients to apply to renew their status.

NACAC encourages you to speak with an immigration attorney or a Board of Immigration Appeals–accredited representative if you are working with a student or group of students who may be undocumented and concerned about their future.

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