On September 5, 2017, President Trump’s Administration announced rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Following this announcement various lawsuits were filed challenging rescission of the program. On January 9, 2018, a federal judge in California issued a nationwide order reinstating the DACA program for individuals who have already applied for and received benefits under the program. The order directs the Department of Homeland Security to post reasonable public notice and prescribe a process to resume receiving DACA renewal applications for these individuals. As of January 11, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) DACA webpage indicates that information on renewal applications is forthcoming. Until additional information is released by USCIS, the American Immigration Lawyers Association recommends that DACA beneficiaries wait to file renewal applications in order to avoid the possibility of any confusion or delay in processing. Please also note that the order does not reinstate the DACA program for individuals who do not already possess DACA status. The Court’s order will remain in place until a final judgment or other order is issued in the case.
Undocumented and DACA Students Resource Guide
This resource guide collects information on resources available to undocumented students, DACAmented students and students from mixed-status families. Answers to common questions, information on campus and community resources, and more are compiled here. This guide will grow as more information becomes available and as our campus resources evolve.
Statements of Support from the University
- Chancellor Wrighton letter to President Trump Urging Continuation of DACA(Sep 1, 2017)
- A global community of scholars: University affirms statement of principles (Feb 2, 2017)
- Message from Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton (Dec 5, 2016)
- Chancellor Wrighton signs letter defending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Nov 21, 2016)
Statements of Support from Students
- Student Union president signs student leaders’ letter to Trump regarding DACA (Jan 16, 2017)
- “Organizers push for WU to become a sanctuary campus following election” (Article from Student Life, Nov 21, 2016)
Literature and Sources to Learn More About DACA
- Vargas, J. A. (2011). “My life as an undocumented immigrant.” New York Times.
- Mineo, L. (2017). “Ask the undocumented.” The Harvard Gazette.
- Palacios, J. (2018). “UTSA launches dreamers resource center for undocumented students.” Texas Public Radio.
- Understanding Debates About DACA
Films & Videos
- “Which Way Home” (2009) – This Academy Award-nominated documentary follows three children who make a dangerous trek through Mexico en route to the U.S. border, atop the dangerous train known as ‘la bestia,’ in hopes of reuniting with their parents
- “Food Chains” (2014) – In this documentary, Sanjay Rawal takes up the plight of migrant farmworkers by focusing on their fight in Immokalee, Florida to push back against supermarket giants who essentially pressure farm owners to pay poverty wages.
- “The Hand That Feeds” (2014) – Immigrant workers organize themselves to fight a culture of exploitation and mistreatment that gives them zero rights and only slightly more in wages. Due to their undocumented status, they have come up against a brick wall to improve conditions, but their determination builds into a popular movement that draws on the wider community, the courts, and Occupy Wall Street protestors.
- “Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America” (2016) – When Moises Serrano was a baby, his parents risked everything to flee Mexico in search of the American Dream. Growing up in the rural South as an undocumented gay man, forbidden to live and love in the country he calls home, Serrano sees only one option — to fight for justice and equality.
- “Immigration Battle” (2015) – Born in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents, Luis Gutiérrez has been one of the U.S. House of Representative’s most vocal voices for comprehensive immigration reform. Immigration Battle follows his political maneuvering during the attempted passage of a bi-partisan immigration reform bill that was shot down by politicians feeding off of anti-immigrant sentiment.
- “Sin Pais” (2010) – Sam and Elida Mejia escaped Guatemala during a violent civil war and brought their one-year-old son to California. They worked hard, raised a family, and lived the American dream. Two years ago, immigration agents stormed the Mejias’ house and they have been fighting to stay in the U.S. ever since.
- “New American Girls” (2014) – In this documentary series, three teenage girls (of Mexican, Peruvian, and Indian descent) brought to the U.S. describe their experiences as undocumented residents who feel American. Having excelled at school, the girls are subsequently unable to go to college, get jobs, or register in a system that impedes their sense of identity and damages their prospects.
- “Who is Dayani Cristal?” (2013) – This documentary begins in the Arizona desert where a body of a migrant is found with only one clue as to his identity: a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” To retrace his path and discover his story, the directors embed themselves among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border, providing insight into the stories so often ignored in the immigration debate.
- “Beyond Borders” (2016) – Nearly 11 million people live in the US without the benefit of social and political rights, and the majority are Mexicans. Undocumented Mexican immigrants have become the public face of the anti-immigrant backlash now sweeping our country – and yet much of the national debate about their lives, their motivations, and their role in maintaining crucial sectors of the US economy – is deeply flawed.
- “Roadtrip Nation: Beyond the Dream” (2016) – Everyone seems to have a voice in the immigration debate—except immigrants, themselves. Explore the immigrant experience through the eyes of Alexis, Rachel, and Pratishtha: three immigrants who were brought to this country at a young age, and have been temporarily granted partial—but not full—protection against deportation.
- “Don’t Tell Anyone” (2015) – Angy Rivera has lived in the United States with a secret that threatens to upend her life: She is undocumented. Now 24 and facing an uncertain future, Rivera becomes an activist for undocumented youth with a popular advice blog and steps out of the shadows to share her story of sexual abuse, an experience all too common among undocumented women.
- “Reclaiming Agency: My Journey as an Undocumented American” (2018) – When Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn told college advisors he wanted to go to medical school, they didn’t know what to say to him. They had never heard of a medical school admitting an undocumented student. Latthivongskorn, who was born in Thailand and moved to the U.S. at the age of 9, shares his powerful journey as an undocumented immigrant who became the first undocumented medical student at UCSF at TEDxBerkeley 2018. He was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2017 for co-founding Pre-Health Dreamers, an organization that works to support undocumented students pursuing health careers. He is completing a Master’s in Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. New continues to engage in work at the intersection of immigrant rights, health & medicine, and culture change.
- “Hiding in plain sight — my life as an undocumented American” (2014) – An executive communications specialist at Rackspace Hosting, Leezia oversees the company’s speaker’s bureau for the Americas region. She is a first-generation American, of African and Indian descent, who immigrated to Texas from Canada in 1996. Leezia’s interest in writing and foreign affairs led her to Northwestern University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. Leezia is also the weekend cops reporter for the San Antonio Express-News and serves as secretary of the SA2020 Commission on Education. As a news reporter, her work has been published in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and the San Antonio Express-News, among other media. In April 2014, Leezia’s research with Northwestern University’s Medill Innocence Project, a journalism think tank that investigates cases of potentially wrongful convictions, contributed to the release of an inmate who spent nine years incarcerated in an Illinois prison. Her work helped Medill to win the Investigative Reporters & Editors Award and the Peter Lisagor Award for best online feature story.
- “DACA, What Next?” (2018) – In this TED talk, Javier describes his personal experience being an undocumented immigrant in the USA, having been brought as a child with his father. He speaks of his drive to better himself through education, what DACA has meant to him and his concern for the future now that the program has been rescinded by the current administration. Javier A Juarez (Candidate MA Brown University 18′, BA Rhode Island College 17′) is a research fellow at the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University. Javier and his father came to Rhode Island 18 years ago from Peru with nothing but the clothes on their back looking for a better future. Javier serves as a community outreach member at CASO (Coalition of Advocates for student Opportunities), a non-profit organization that focuses on the betterment of undocumented and first-generation immigrant students in Rhode Island. Because of his efforts to raise awareness about the undocumented student struggle, Javier was awarded the Vital Contribution to the Community award in 2017 at Rhode Island College.
- Cruz, A. (2016). “19 amazing works of art that show who undocumented immigrants really are.”
- Mendoza, E. (2018). “Art as resistance: 7 undocumented artists that you want to follow.” The Body is Not an Apology.
- Juárez Jr., E. “Path to citizenship.” Things I’ll Never Say.
- Pacheco, G. “Yo soy el inmigrante madre.” Things I’ll Never Say.
- Semillas, Vol. 1 (PDF)
- Semillas, Vol. 2 (PDF)
- Semillas, Vol. 3 (PDF)
- Roots, Vol. 4 (PDF)
- Roots, Vol. 5 (PDF)
Center for Diversity & Inclusion
Danforth University Center (DUC), Suite 150
Contact Center for Diversity & Inclusion by email
Office for International Students and Scholars
Danforth University Center (DUC), suite 330
6475 Forsyth Blvd.
Mid Campus Center
4590 Children’s Place
St. Louis, MO 63110
Financial Aid Office
1 Brookings Hall, Room 75
888-547-6670 or 314-935-5900
Contact Financial Aid Office by email
Aimee Wittman, Director of Career Services
Contact Career Center by email
Office of Student Success
Student Success Fund
Office of Scholar Programs
Assistant Dean of Scholar Programs
Contact Office of Scholar Programs by email
Emelyn A. dela Peña, EdD
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Dean of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion
T: 314-935-7535 | F: 314-935-9255 | Contact Emelyn by email
Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Physical Location: Danforth University Center, 3rd Floor, Room 337
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Office for International Students & Scholars
T: 314-935-5910 | F: 314-935-4075 | Contact Kathy by email
Physical Location: Danforth University Center, 1st Floor, suite 150
Resources within the greater St. Louis Community
Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA)
MIRA is a coalition of organizations that supports advocacy and education in Missouri. MIRA tracks bills as they pass through the Missouri legislature, and has a resources directory listing helpful organizations in the area.
Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry (CLAM)–Immigration Law Project
100 North Tucker Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63101
Contact CLAM by email | 314-977-3993
CLAM immigration attorneys and representatives accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals offer legal aid to migrants facing challenges in immigration cases such as: family based petitions, asylum, relative petitions, naturalization, adjustment of status, employment authorization, violence against women, special immigrant juveniles, T and U visas for victims of crime and/or human trafficking, deferred action, temporary protected status, and representation for relief while in removal proceedings. CLAM also provides outreach and Know Your Rights programs throughout the area to help educate the immigrant communities about current issues.
CLAM cannot accept walk-ins. To request help, call 314-977-3993 on Tuesdays. Given the volume of calls received, it may take several weeks before you can speak with an attorney. You also can email CLAM.
The Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project (MICA Project) is a community organization committed to working with low-income immigrants to overcome barriers to justice. The MICA Project utilizes legal services, organizing, advocacy, and education to promote the voice and human dignity of immigrant communities.
The MICA Project handles a wide variety of cases, including family immigration, naturalization, removal defense, and asylum and refugee issues. In 2015, The MICA Project worked with over 350 clients. In order to assure that immigrants are heard and can get the help they need, the MICA Project provides all services at a discounted rate. Fees are charged on an affordable sliding scale and payment plans are available.
Resources for Parents of Undocumented Students
English- and Spanish-language guides created by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC).
A list taken from a survey by University of Pennsylvania and University of California. These organizations noted they are interested in hiring DACA students.
- Migration Policy Institute
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Renew Your DACA
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: DACA Toolkit (PDF)
- My American DREAMs
Educators for Fair Consideration
Founded in 2006, Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) empowers undocumented young people to pursue their dreams of college, career and citizenship in the United States. We address the holistic needs of undocumented young people through direct support, leadership development, community outreach and advocacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA is a program established by former President Obama in June 2012. Under DACA, the Department of Homeland Security defers taking action to remove qualifying undocumented immigrants, commonly known as DREAMers, and also grants renewable term-limited work authorization. DACA status is subject to renewal every two years. To be eligible for DACA, an individual must: (1) have come to the United States before he or she turned 16; (2) have lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; (3) be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; (4) have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, having no lawful immigration status at the time he or she requests consideration of deferred action with USCIS; (5) be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and (6) not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors and must not pose a threat to national security or public safety. DACA does not provide lawful immigrant status nor a path to citizenship, but it does provide authorization to work and the government’s assurance that the person may remain in the United States without being placed in removal proceedings. More information about DACA can be found at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration website.
What do I need to know if the DACA program ends?
Read What Do I Need to Know if the DACA Program Ends? from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
Who can undocumented and DACAmented students speak with about their needs?
At the Center for Diversity & Inclusion contact Emelyn dela Peña or call 314-935-7535. At the Office for International Students and Scholars contact Kathy Steiner-Lang or call 314-935-5910.
Are legal resources available to undocumented or DACAmented students?
Through the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), the university will provide information and referral resources for undocumented students needing legal assistance.
Will my student information remain private and protected?
The university will zealously protect the privacy of confidential student information and will adhere to the privacy protections granted to our students by federal law. The university will not release information about immigration or citizenship status to third parties unless required by court order or other legal requirement.
Does WUPD get involved in immigration enforcement?
The primary role and responsibility of the Washington University Police Department (WUPD) is to maintain a safe learning environment. WUPD officers are visible, accessible and dedicated to their primary goal: making sure that every member of our community and our visitors feel safe on and around our campuses. WUPD is not in the business of enforcing federal immigration law, nor do WUPD officers inquire about immigration status as a matter of course in carrying out their day-to-day responsibilities. That will not change. As a matter of course, WUPD officers do not inquire about immigration status in carrying out their day-to-day responsibilities; they only will do so if related to criminal violations or threats of violent behavior. Further, WUPD does not detain individuals solely because of their immigration status. It is neither the university’s practice nor expectation that WUPD will function as an agent of the federal government in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. WUPD will of course comply with lawful subpoenas or other legal requirements.
Are there mental health and counseling resources that specifically address undocumented and DACAmented students, or students from mixed-status families?
While we do not offer specialized services for undocumented students or DACAmented students, the counseling center staff are attuned to the unique stressors that our undocumented students may face. To reduce barriers, we offer free counseling appointments, walk-in hours when students are in acute distress, and support groups if we identify that there is an interest amongst students. The “Let’s Talk” program was created to specifically reach out to students who may experience additional barriers to seeking traditional therapy services. Let’s Talk sessions are held in multiple locations on campus including the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Office for International Students and Scholars.
What are admissions policies toward undocumented students?
Undocumented students receive the same admissions review as all applicants to our undergraduate programs. Students may choose to apply through the Common Application or the Coalition Application, which have optional questions regarding undocumented/DACA status. We do not have a WashU supplement to the applications. Applicants who are currently in the DACA Status (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) will need to select “Other (Non-US)” for citizenship status. Then answer “No” for “Do you currently hold a valid U.S. Visa?”
Does Washington University offer financial aid or other financial support to undocumented or DACAmented students?
Washington University meets 100% of need for all admitted students. This policy applies to domestic students, international students, DACA students and undocumented students.