Frequently Asked Questions

Georgetown’s Support for Undocumented Students: Frequently Asked Questions

Date Updated: September 6, 2017

Q. What is DACA?

On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children, commonly referred to as “Dreamers.” DHS issued a directive granting these individuals temporary permission to stay in the U.S. This program is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA does not grant a legal status or offer a permanent residency or citizenship for these individuals but directs that they will not be deported for a period of time.

Individuals are eligible for DACA if they were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, were under the age of 31 at that time, came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, are currently in school or have graduated with a GED, have not been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanors, and pose no threat to national security or public safety.

Q. What is the current status of the DACA program?

On September 5, 2017, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security issued a memorandum rescinding the June 15, 2012 memo establishing the DACA program.

Q. What is the immediate impact of the September 5, 2017 DHS Memo on current DACA recipients?

The DACA program is being phased out. Current DACA recipients will be permitted to retain their deferred action status and their employment authorization documents until they expire (generally two years from the date issued).

Q. My DACA status is expiring, is now a good time to renew it?  

Any recipients who currently have DACA status and whose deferral period expires before March 5, 2018 can apply for a renewal and for an associated employment authorization document, which must be received before October 5, 2017. Any requests for renewal or new work authorization after that period of time will be rejected.

Georgetown has contracted with Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services to offer free legal aid to students interested in renewing DACA. Information is available here: https://www.catholiccharitiesdc.org/ILS. In addition, students should contact the Office of Student Financial Services for support in renewing DACA.

Q. What happens if my DACA renewal request is currently pending?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review and adjudicate properly filed pending DACA renewal requests that have been accepted as of September 5, 2017, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 that have been accepted as of October 5, 2017. USCIS will reject all requests to renew DACA filed after October 5, 2017.

Q. I am a student with DACA status, is it OK to travel at this time?

Effective September 5, 2017, DHS will not approve any new applications for advance parole (approval to leave the country and re-enter the country and maintain DACA status). Current DACA recipients are advised not to leave the country at this time as they may not be permitted to return to the United States.

Q. How does the program’s termination impact individuals once their DACA status expires?

Once an individual's period of deferred action expires, the individual's removal will no longer be deferred, and he/she will no longer be eligible for lawful employment in the United States. Information from the DACA program will not be proactively provided to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or other law enforcement entities unless the individual poses a risk to national security or he/she meets the criteria for issuance of a Notice to Appear or referral to ICE.

For more detailed information, please refer to the DHS’s Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/05/frequently-asked-questions-rescission-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca#wcm-survey-target-id.

Q. What is the BRIDGE Act?

The BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream of Growing our Economy) is bipartisan legislation that has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives that would offer “provisional protected presence” to previous beneficiaries of DACA. The BRIDGE Act would be a legislative solution that would continue deportation relief and access to a work permit for three years for individuals covered by DACA. Additional information about the BRIDGE Act can be found here: https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/faq-bridge-act/.

Q. What is the DREAM Act?

On July 20, 2017, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the Dream Act of 2017. It is a bipartisan bill that would provide a direct road to U.S. citizenship for people who are either undocumented, have DACA or temporary protected status (TPS), and who graduate from U.S. high schools and attend college, enter the workforce, or enlist in a military program. Additional information about the DREAM Act can be found here: https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-reform-and-executive-actions/dreamact/dream-act-2017-summary-and-faq/.

Q. How is the University supporting undocumented students?

Georgetown University is committed to supporting undocumented students and the unique challenges they may face. Georgetown recently appointed our first full-time associate director, Arelis Palacios, for undocumented student services. In addition, Georgetown has a working group of faculty, staff and students who meet regularly to focus on supporting undocumented students.

Georgetown has contracted with Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services to offer free legal advice to students interested in renewing DACA. Information is available here: https://www.catholiccharitiesdc.org/ILS. In addition, students should contact the Office of Student Financial Services for support in renewing DACA.

President DeGioia will continue to support and advocate for federal efforts in support of the DACA initiative, the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act, and the DREAM Act, federal legislation that would lead to a permanent path to legal permanent residency for undocumented students. Many of President DeGioia’s statements in support of undocumented students can be found here: http://undocumented.georgetown.edu/public-statements.

Georgetown created a website devoted to providing information about resources and guidance to undocumented students and prospective students: https://undocumented.georgetown.edu/.

Q. Does Georgetown admit students and provide funding to students who are undocumented?

Georgetown welcomes and supports students of all backgrounds without regard to their immigration status. We welcome all interested individuals to apply and we do not require students to provide proof of citizenship. Georgetown is proud of its need-blind/meet full need policy regarding all of its undergraduate students. Consistent with that commitment, although Federal aid programs are not available to undocumented students, Georgetown provides institutional aid to all undergraduate students who qualify for need-based aid, without regard to immigration status.

Q. What should faculty and staff do if a federal or state official requests information regarding a current or former student?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of information contained in student education records. Information from those records may be shared outside of the university only with the written consent of the student or if an exception to FERPA’s consent requirement applies (e.g., directory information, health and safety emergency). Faculty and staff should not, and have no responsibility to, provide information to a federal official requesting immediate information on a phone call or during an in-person visit. In almost all cases, the university will have at least three working days to respond. The University's Office of General Counsel and Office of the Registrar are available to help guide you through issues regarding student privacy and to respond to requests for information. For more detailed information, please visit: https://counsel.georgetown.edu/student_information_guidance.

Q. What information does Georgetown disclose to the Department of Homeland Security immigration authorities about its undocumented students?

Georgetown protects the privacy of student information and records consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Georgetown will not release information regarding undocumented student immigration status to the Department of Homeland Security, unless legally compelled to do so (e.g., a warrant, subpoena or other court order).

Q. Does Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD) arrest students who are undocumented?

Students will not be held or arrested by GUPD on the basis of immigration status alone. GUPD does not have the responsibility to enforce federal laws regarding immigration status and will not ask students about their immigration status.

Q. I am an undocumented student. Who should I reach out to for support?

Undocumented students or those who know of undocumented students seeking support should reach out to Arelis Palacios, advisor to undocumented students, at ap1431@georgetown.edu, phone: (202) 687-6240. Georgetown will not release information about any student who visits the advisor to anyone outside of the University, unless legally compelled to do so. Students concerned about confidentiality may contact the advisor anonymously at the telephone number above or reach out to the Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services:  https://www.catholiccharitiesdc.org/ILS.