Undocumented Student Resources

students in advising office on couch

WHAT IS DACA?

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Established in 2012 by President Barack Obama, DACA allows undocumented individuals who entered the United States as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of “deferred action” or protection from deportation. Some undocumented students at Columbia and at other colleges and universities in the U.S. have DACA status.

DACA enables recipients to further or complete their educations, to work, to obtain drivers’ licenses and social security numbers and build personal credit history. In addition, it allows undocumented individuals to exit and re-enter the country.

DACA status provides protection against deportation. The program currently remains in place.

The U.S. Federal Government grants DACA status on a case-by-case basis. It is not a step towards gaining permanent residency or citizenship.

DACA IS BACK

  • The government was instructed to revert the DACA program back to its original form before the Setember 5, 2017 memo.
  • If you have never had DACA and are eligible, you can apply for the first time.
  • Advanced Parole has returned to its original form.
  • 1-year renewal for DACA individuals will automatically have the protection extended to two years
  • If you had DACA previously and it expired more than one year ago or was terminated, you may not request DACA as a renewal, but you may file a new initial DACA request. As addressed above, if you had DACA and it expired less than one year ago, you can request renewal and USCIS will typically accept the request.

Helpful Tips:

  • If you currently have DACA, you should request renewal 150-120 days before it expires to minimize the possibility that your current period of DACA expires before you receive a decision on your renewal request.
  • If you now have DACA , USCIS will accept renewal requests more than 150 days in advance of your DACA expiration; however, this could result in an overlap of your current DACA period and your renewal period.
  • If your expiration date is over one year, you can renew. Typically, USCIS will not reject renewals if the expiration date does not exceed one year.
  • For frequently asked questions go here.

Resources & Scholarships

  • My Undocumented Life webpage has up-to-date information and resources for students, including information about scholarships. Please go here for more information.
  • Opening Doors International Services has been offering humanitarian and legal immigration services to families and individuals in North Texas since 2003. Please go here for more information.
  • North Texas Dream Team: a community-led nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the dreams and goals of students; to educate and bring awareness to everyone, regardless of color, when it comes to issues in our communities. Please go here for more information.
  • Scholarships for Dreamers/DACA The Dream. US National scholarship fund for Dreamers who will begin their first year in college and meet Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) eligibility criteria. The deadline for submission is May 31st.
  • La Unidad Latina Foundation Scholarship Offers scholarships to current undocumented undergrad and grad students in different degree programs. There are two due dates for this scholarship: October and February.
  • United We Dream offers multiple resources for undocumented students and those seeking help with DACA. UWD is the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country. Please go here for more information. 

Federal

Legal Assistance and/ Advocacy

  • Immi is an online screening tools, legal information and referrals to nonprofit legal services organizations from the Immigration Advocates Network and Pro Bono Net, helpful site with lots of legal information. The webpage can be viewed in Spanish and English.
  • Proyeto Inmigrante ICS, Inc. offers immigration counseling and legal representation services throughout the DFW Metroplex
  • Light of Hope ILC: Immigration Law Center that serves low-income families who face immigration challenges.