Undocumented Students

Undocumented Students Page

Each year, several thousand undocumented students graduate from 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 the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted temporary permission to stay to certain undocumented youth who came to the United State as children. However, on September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced that it would end the DACA program. NACAC opposes the decision to rescind DACA, and Members of Congress continue to attempt to negotiate a solution for these students and individuals.

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. 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. DHS announced that it would resume processing renewal applications while litigation is ongoing.

In April 2018, Judge John Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia became the third judge to strike down the Administration's decision to end DACA, stating that Department of Homeland Security "failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful." According to this ruling, DHS must begin accepting new DACA applications after a 90-day waiting period. This waiting period is intended "to afford DHS an opportunity to better explain its view that DACA is unlawful." It is expected that the Administration will appeal this decision; NACAC will continue to monitor the issue and update this webpage as necessary.

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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