DACA and Undocumented Students

Resources and updates for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and undocumented students.

OVIS Advocacy and Support

OVIS offers general support for undocumented students at Dartmouth, including DACA students and CoFIRED (the Dartmouth Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers). CoFIRED is a Dartmouth College student organization dedicated to advancing the rights of undocumented students.

DACA students may contact OVIS by email, phone, or schedule an individual appointment. OVIS provides referrals to outside counsel for students interested in an individual consultation to review possible options for immigration benefits, including DACA and DACA renewals. OVIS also serves as the primary point of contact for departments and professional schools with questions related to undocumented students.

OVIS hosts annual information sessions for senior administrators across Dartmouth to ensure awareness and understanding of the issues faced by undocumented students. Through these meetings OVIS has created a network of individuals on campus who can be of assistance to students in their respective areas.

DACA Policy Updates

DHS Memo Institutes Restrictions to DACA program protections

On July 28, 2020 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum addressing how it will administer the DACA program while the agency reviews the program in light of the June 18, 2020 Supreme Court decision.  The Supreme Court ruling did not preclude the Administration from rescinding DACA in the future.  Rather, the Court said that the Administration's decision to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, and directed the government (DHS) to reconsider its decision.  The memo states that while DHS undergoes this reconsideration and review of DACA, the agency will institute new restrictions related to DACA protections.  Specifically, DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf says in the memo that effective immediately DHS will:

  • Reject all initial DACA requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents, and refund all associated fees, without prejudice to re-filing such requests should DHS determine to begin accepting initial requests again in the future
  • Adjudicate all pending and future properly submitted DACA renewal requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents from current beneficiaries
  • Limit the period of any deferred action granted pursuant to the DACA policy after the issuance of this memorandum (and thereby limit the period of any associated work authorization) to one year
  • Refrain from terminating any grants of previously issued deferred action or revoking any Employment Authorization Documents based solely on the directives in this memorandum for the remaining duration of their validity periods
  • Reject all pending and future Form I-131 applications for advance parole from beneficiaries of the DACA policy and refund all associated fees, absent exceptional circumstances
  • Refrain from terminating any grants of previously approved advance parole based solely on the directives in this memorandum for the remaining duration of their validity periods
  • Exercise its discretionary authority to terminate or deny deferred action at any time when immigration officials determine termination or denial of deferred action is appropriate

There will likely be legal challenges to these newest efforts to limit DACA protections.  OVIS will continue to provide updates as we learn new information.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds DACA Program

On Thursday, June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision upheld the DACA (Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals) Program.  The Court held that the rescission of DACA by the administration was unlawful, temporarily allowing for the continuation of the program.  We do not have details yet as to how Department of Homeland Security will proceed following the decision, including whether new DACA applications will be accepted, and if DACA recipients will be able to request Advance Parole permission to travel internationally.  OVIS will continue to monitor this situation and update our website as information becomes available. 

DACA Litigation Update

On Friday, June 28, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated and agreed to hear three cases challenging the rescission of DACA. The Court heard oral arguments in the case on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.  On April 20, 2020 the Court agreed to grant the request of the National Immigration Law Center to file an additional brief describing the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the DACA decision.  The Court's decision could still be issued in late Spring or early Summer 2020.  

On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Administration's motion to expedite consideration of its petition in the DHS v. Casa de Maryland case. The government is appealing the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in May 2019, which found that the government's decision to rescind DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act. The Fourth Circuit's decision also stopped Department of Homeland Security from sharing information about DACA recipients for enforcement purposes.

On November 8, 2018 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion affirming the January 9, 2018 decision of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California ordering Department of Homeland Security to maintain the DACA program and adjudicate renewal applications for current DACA recipients.   

On August 3, 2018 the federal court for the District of Columbia ruled that the administration must fully restore the DACA program. 

On August 31, 2018 the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas denied the request for a preliminary injunction to stop the DACA program.  The case was brought by the State of Texas and several other states challenging the DACA program.  Dartmouth joined in an amicus brief filed with the Texas Court defending DACA.

The National Immigration Law Center has a helpful timeline summarizing the Texas case and other ongoing DACA litigation in the federal courts.

USCIS Resumes Processing DACA Renewals Following Federal Court Order

On January 13, 2018 USCIS posted instructions for filing DACA renewals following a January 9, 2018 federal court order. According to the USCIS website, the agency will accept renewal applications for DACA recipients whose DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016. For individuals who previously received DACA, but whose DACA expired before September 5, 2016, DACA requests can be filed as a new request instead of a renewal. USCIS is not accepting new DACA applications from individuals who have never had DACA before. The National Immigration Law Center and United We Dream have prepared a set of FAQs on DACA Renewal Applications.

On April 24, 2018 the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. issued an order vacating the White House's decision to rescind DACA, and requiring the Department of Homeland Security to accept and process both new and renewal DACA applications. The Court said the order would not go into effect for 90 days to allow Homeland Security an opportunity to "better explain its view that DACA is unlawful."

Federal Court Ruling on DACA

On January 9, 2018 the federal district court for the Northern District of California issued an order directing the government to partially maintain the DACA program. The decision orders the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to maintain the DACA program nationwide, with the following exceptions: new applications "need not be processed"; advance parole applications based on DACA do not have to be continued; and the government can exercise discretion in adjudicating renewal applications. The order instructs DHS to post notice that it will resume receiving DACA renewal applications. The agency updated its webpage on January 13, 2018.

On February 13, 2018 the Federal District Court in New York issued a nationwide preliminary injunction ordering the government to maintain the DACA program pursuant to the same terms and conditions that existed before the September 5, 2017 DACA rescission memo, subject to the same limitations of the January 9, 2018 injunction issued in the California District Court case.

On February 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in the California case. This decision means that for now, USCIS will continue to process renewal applications under the guidelines provided by USCIS while the litigation works through the regular appeals process.

Rescission of the DACA Program

On September 5, 2017 the Attorney General announced the rescission of the DACA program. According to the Memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and accompanying FAQs, the agency will continue to adjudicate DACA requests that were filed with DHS by September 5, 2017. DHS will also accept applications for DACA renewals from beneficiaries whose current DACA benefits will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, so long as those requests are received by DHS by October 5, 2017. Two lawsuits have been filed challenging the rescission of the program.

On Sunday, October 8, 2017 the White House issued a summary of immigration policy priorities which it wants Congress to include in legislation to continue the DACA program. The list of priorities, detailed in additional outlines issued by the White House and published on its website, address border security measures, interior enforcement, the diversity lottery, and family and employment-based immigration.

OVIS will continue to monitor this major change in policy, and update our website as new information becomes available.

Dartmouth's statement in response to the decision to rescind DACA, as well as President' Hanlon's September 1, 2017 letter to President Trump concerning DACA can be found on the Office of the President website.

The Immigration Legal Resource Center has issued a helpful guide about what DACA students need to know about the end of DACA.

New Dream Act Legislation

Dream and Promise Act passes the House of Representatives:  On June 4, 2019 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act, which would create a permanent path to U.S. citizenship for DACA recipients, and individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  The bill will now go to the U.S. Senate.  

On July 20, 2017 Senators Graham and Durbin introduced new Dream Act legislation. A summary of the proposed bill and answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the National Immigration Law Center website.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has provided good information about how to advocate for the Dream Act: Four Easy Ways to Advocate for the Dream Act.


General DREAM Act and DACA Resources

Legal Resources

  • Curran, Berger & Kludt
    • OVIS has engaged the services of Curran, Berger & Kludt in Northampton, MA to provide support and assistance to undocumented students on campus, including:
      • Workshops/information sessions on DACA and DACA renewals
      • Representation of individual students and their families (discounted attorney fees)
    • Dan Berger and Megan Kludt
      Curran, Berger, & Kludt
      (413) 584-3232
  • Iandoli Desai & Cronin P.C.
    38 Third Ave, Suite 100, 
    Boston, MA  02129,
    Boston office: 617-482-1010
    Worcester office: 508-754-4100
  • Catholic Charities New Hampshire Immigration and Refugee Services
    • Catholic Charities provides support and guidance to individuals who cannot afford private assistance. 
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
    • ACLU of NH, Gilles Bissonette, Legal Director, SangYeob Kim, Staff Attorney, (603)225-3080
      (603) 224-5591 ext. 103
    • ACLU of VT, Jay Diaz, Staff Attorney
      (802) 223-6304
  • UNH Immigration Law Clinic provides legal assistance to individuals in immigration detention 
  • James Bach (a member of the Dartmouth Lawyers Association)
    • Pro bono representation in DACA cases, subject to availability
    • Law Offices of James A. Bach, San Francisco, CA
      (415) 248-3100
  • ImmigrationLawHelp.org
    • Resource for free or low-cost nonprofit immigration legal services providers across the U.S.

Know Your Rights

Helpful resources for understanding your rights when encountering federal immigration agents or law enforcement:

The ACLU, including the NH affiliate of the ACLU, has asked the Greyhound bus company to stop allowing U.S. Customs & Border Protection agents to board buses for random immigration inspections. Read the press release for more information.

Please also refer to the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) webpage on the agency's Sensitive Locations policy.  The policy states that enforcement activities shall not take place at schools, including post-secondary colleges and universities.  This is a policy that is subject to change at any time, but the current administration is still adhering to the policy.

Campus Resources

  • Confidential Resources: Certain resources are designated as confidential and are available to students.
  • The Student Affairs Office maintains a list of campus resources for undocumented students.
  • The Dean of the College includes a listing of community resources available to assist students in need of resources and support.

Community Resources

  • The Granite State Organizing Project offers the NH Rapid Response Network at (603) 668-8250.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

The American Immigration Council provides a Fact Sheet and other helpful resources on TPS, a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of certain designated countries experiencing problems such as armed conflict or an environmental disaster that put them at risk if they were to return.

USCIS also maintains a TPS webpage with the list of designated countries, and a detailed description of the application process.

On November 1, 2019 U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the extension of TPS benefits for beneficiaries from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan through January 4, 2021.  The notice published in the Federal Register automatically extends EAD work card documents and I-94 arrival records.  DHS has also announced the extension of TPS benefits for beneficiaries from Yemen through September 3, 2021.