Frequently Asked Questions
From the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
1. When should DACA recipients renew their DACA in light of a potential negative decision by the Supreme Court?
- DACA recipients should seek qualified legal counsel to receive individualized legal advice about their case, including whether they should renew their DACA and whether they are eligible for a more permanent form of relief.
- While USCIS recommends that DACA recipients submit their renewal requests 120 to 150 days before expiration, USCIS is accepting and eventually adjudicating renewals submitted within 365 days before expiration.
- Generally, DACA recipients whose DACA expires within 365 days or less should submit their renewal request as soon as possible to obtain an additional two-year grant or at least be grandfathered in (see below) in light of a negative decision.
2. What will happen to pending applications if the Supreme Court issues a negative decision?
Sometime between January and June of 2020, the Supreme Court will issue a decision on whether the administration can legally end DACA. If the Supreme Court allows the administration to end DACA, it is unknown how that rescission will take place.
- The worst potential outcome is that the administration will deny all pending applications and retract all existing grants of DACA.
- Another scenario is that the administration will deny all pending applications but allow existing grants of DACA to gradually expire.
- The best scenario is that the administration will process all DACA renewal requests pending on the date of the decision and allow existing grants to gradually expire.
Thus, in certain cases it may be beneficial for DACA recipients to submit their renewal application in case the administration adjudicates all pending applications.
3. What other employment options will DACA recipients have if their DACA expires or is terminated?
DACA recipients should educate themselves and explore alternatives to employment in the case DACA expires. These options include exploring the feasibility of transitioning their current position to an independent contractor position, starting a small business, and/or operating as independent contractor generally. These options do not require an employment authorization document. For more information on these options, check out Immigrants Rising resources on Working for Yourself (PDF) and 5 Tips to Get Started as an Independent Contractor (PDF).
National organizations and community-based groups offer information and webinars on how to set up as an independent contractor. For example, Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) is spearheading a Rapid Response Cooperative (RRC) Development Project, which “aims to create replicable, out-of-the-box worker-owned businesses that provide a pathway to work for DREAMers and undocumented individuals.” See more information here. This may be an excellent resource for staff, students, or alumni, and DAWI can provide technical assistance and guidance on how to set up these business. Also see the related website, Radiate Consulting Cooperatives, for information about the services and members.
4. What impact will the end of DACA have on access to in-state tuition, financial aid, and scholarships?
Depending on the state, the loss of DACA may or may not affect access to in-state tuition and financial aid. Some states base in-state tuition and financial on non-DACA criteria, including residency and graduation from a state high school. For more details, see the Presidents’ Alliance November 2019 FAQ, entitled, Higher Ed Guide to Tuition, Financial Aid & Other Funding for Undocumented Students: FAQs for Public and Private Colleges and Universities. For more detailed state information, consult uLead’s online resource. Similarly, different scholarships have different criteria, with many scholarship and fellowship organizations likely to update their criteria to open their funding to non-DACA scholars.
5. What does the forthcoming nationwide implementation of REAL ID mean for a DACA recipient’s ability to obtain identification and driver’s licenses?
REAL ID is a federal law that requires states to verify the citizenship and identity status of their residents before issuing driver’s license or identification for certain federal purposes. On October 1, 2020, non-REAL ID forms of identification will no longer be accepted at federal buildings and for domestic flights. As always, documents issued by foreign governments, such as passports and the Mexican Matricula, are acceptable forms of identification to fly on domestic flights and will remain so. REAL ID-compliant identification cannot be issued to undocumented immigrants, including DACA recipients. For more information regarding REAL ID, please see National Immigration Law Center’s resources, The REAL ID Act: Questions and Answers and Basic Facts About REAL ID.
Partially in response to REAL ID, many states have begun to issue driver’s licenses or identification that are not REAL ID complaint, e.g. specifically for undocumented immigrants. In the case DACA ends, you should see what state-specific forms of identification your state offers for noncitizens. For information on what states offer identification and driver’s licenses for undocumetned immigrants, see the National Immigration Law Center’s resource, State Laws Providing Access to Driver’s Licenses or Cards, Regardless of Immigration Status.
If the DACA program is ended by the U.S. Supreme Court and no legislative fix is passed and signed into law, will DACA recipients be allowed to remain enrolled at Pace?
Yes. Pace University admits all qualified students regardless of immigration status. This reflects Pace’s commitment to the importance of a diverse and inclusive community.
Should DACA students continue with plans for international travel or study abroad?
No. Undocumented and DACA students should not travel outside of the country for University-related activities. In light of the approach to immigration policies of the current federal administration, the uncertainty regarding the ability to re-enter the US is high.
Should undocumented and DACA students continue with plans for domestic travel if the DACA program is ended by the U.S. Supreme Court?
There are no restrictions on anyone traveling within the US or US territories. However, there is the possibility of people being delayed or detained by TSA officials. Concerned individuals should avoid air travel or other modes of travel where identification is routinely checked.
Will Pace University provide legal services to undocumented and DACA students?
Students in need of legal assistance can contact Pace’s Office of Multicultural Affairs. Pace University can connect students in need with pro bono legal resources from community partners including the Immigration Unit of My Sister’s Place, Pace Women’s Justice Center, ACLU of Lower Hudson Valley, and Neighbors Link Community Law Practice.
Are undocumented and DACA students at risk if they contact Pace’s Safety and Security for assistance?
No. We strongly encourage anyone who is a victim of a crime or who needs security assistance to contact Safety and Security at Pace University. Safety and Security’s primary role is to protect and serve all faculty, staff, and students regardless of immigration status. Safety and Security officers are not charged with enforcing federal immigration law and do not make inquiries into individual citizenship status.
If ICE agents arrive on campus with a warrant signed by a judge, how will Pace respond?
Pace University faculty and staff are not mandated reporters on the issue of immigration status. We do not voluntarily disclose the immigration status of any of our students. We will disclose student information to a government entity only if we must comply with a legal obligation, such as a legally issued warrant or subpoena or a statutory mandate, and in such cases we will not volunteer any information beyond what is required by law.
If ICE agents detain a Pace student, will Pace release personal information to ICE agents including parents’ address or emergency contact information that might put family members at risk?
Pace student information is confidential and will not be shared unless legally required. If Pace University is presented with a warrant we will comply only with the specific information required, and not offer additional information.
Is there a way for a student to protect their personal information (on their phone) from potentially being accessed by ICE agents?
Legally, a warrant is required for any law enforcement official to access such information. Phones should be password protected as a precaution.
What resources are available for more information on what to do at this time?
Several well-known national organizations that are experts in federal immigration policies and practices have developed resource materials.
What to do if you’re stopped by ICE or FBI Agents:
- ACLU Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project
- Immigrant Services Directory: Public Resource for Intake Referrals
The National Immigration Law Center
Know your rights in encountering law enforcement, health care, education, etc.
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members: AILA’s Immigration Lawyer Search
Immigration Advocates Network (IAN)
Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) provides providers information about more than 900 nonprofit immigration legal services providers in all 50 states: ImmigrationLawHelp.org
U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office of Immigration Review
Pro bono legal services by state.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
ADC is a civil rights organization committed to defending the rights of people of Arab descent and promoting their rich cultural heritage.
Funding for DACA Renewals
UndocuMedia has allocated $5,000 for DACA renewal fees of Black undocumented young people. Black undocumented students in need of renewing their DACA status can fill out this form.
Mission Asset Funds (MAF) has also secured funding to cover DACA renewals for free. DACA recipients should simply apply and MAF will send a check already written out to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for payment of DACA renewal. This is not a loan and no one will be asked to pay the money back. However, the scholarships are limited. Those in need can apply.