The information below is informational and does not constitute legal advice. Each individual case is different, and advice may vary depending on the situation. If you are a current Berkeley student with questions about your immigration case, please contact the USP attorney for a consultation as soon as possible.
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
The election of Donald Trump, coupled with the election of a Republican-leaning Congress, could give rise to dramatic and unprecedented changes in immigration law enforcement and policy. Despite many of President Obama’s immigration policies, particularly the record-breaking deportation rates, the Trump Administration is likely to institute major departures from current practice. A summary of what these changes looks like can be found here. Trump’s campaign promises, his post-campaign promise to immediately deport 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records, and his short list of government appointees suggest that immigration enforcement will be cruel and take a turn for the worse. Already, the Trump Administration has rescinded policies such as DACA, and the CAM parole program for Central American minors.
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT WE CAN EXPECT UNDER A TRUMP PRESIDENCY?
Some of these policy recommendations, outlined here, could also become law, without specifically requiring an act of Congress.
WHAT IS THE UC POLICY WITH REGARDS TO FEDERAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT AGENTS ON OUR CAMPUS?
Charles F. Robinson, General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs at the University of California, has issued an FAQ for members of the University of California community, who are concerned about immigration enforcement actions occurring across the country and have asked about the possibility that enforcement actions could occur at the UC system.
WHAT IMMIGRATION PROGRAMS CAN PRESIDENT TRUMP REPEAL?
Any law that was not passed by Congress could be eliminated by a new President, through the issuance of new regulations (if the regulation went through a rule-making process) or if it is just a statement of policy, can be rescinded by the executive branch through a memo. This includes, but is not limited to, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals from specific countries, the parole-in-place program for spouses, children and parents of active or reserve U.S. military personnel, the I-601(A) provisional waiver program for people with unlawful presence, work permits for spouses of H1-B visa holders, and optional practical training for international students.
I CURRENTLY HAVE DACA. CAN I FILE FOR RENEWAL?
DACA permits that expire on/before March 5, 2018, can file for renewals until October 5, 2017. No new renewals will be accepted after this time. USCIS will not accept renewals at this time for applicants whose DACA expires after March 5, 2018. After March 5, 2018, recipients of DACA will lose the ability to legally work in the United States and start accruing unlawful presence as of the date that their work permits expire.
I TRUSTED THE GOVERNMENT WITH MY INFORMATION WHEN I APPLIED FOR DACA. CAN THEY USE IT TO DEPORT ME?
It is not clear whether DACA recipients whose personal information has now been shared with the federal government will face enforcement actions beyond just an expiration of DACA, such as a “Notice to Appear” in removal proceedings. The vast majority of DACA recipients, unless they have a final order of removal, cannot be simply picked up by ICE and deported. They are entitled to proper notice and court proceedings conducted before an immigration judge. The UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program attorney will continue to assist and directly represent current Berkeley students against any and all adverse immigration enforcement actions.
Immigration application fees for Berkeley students are covered by the UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program.
I CURRENTLY HAVE DACA. WHEN DO I LOSE THE ABILITY TO WORK LEGALLY AND PROTECTIONS AFFORDED TO ME BY DACA?
Current work permits that cannot be renewed because of the March 5, 2018 cut-off for filing a renewal will remain valid until their expiration date. The work permits are not being canceled or rescinded as of March 5, 2018. For example, if your work permit expires December 10, 2018, you cannot renew it, but it will remain valid until December 10, 2018.
I NEVER APPLIED FOR DACA BUT I AM ELIGIBLE. SHOULD I APPLY NOW?
No initial DACA applications are being accepted at this time.
I HAVE DACA/TPS AND I WAS PLANNING TO TRAVEL ABROAD WITH ADVANCE PAROLE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
No new advance parole applications will be processed by USCIS at this time. Pending advance parole applications will be returned. Please speak to your study abroad advisor and academic counselor to make alternative plans.
CAN I CONTINUE TO WORK IF AND WHEN DACA OR TPS EXPIRES?
If and when DACA or TPS status expires, Berkeley students can speak with the USP attorney about other legal options that may exist for them to continue working in the United States.
I APPLIED FOR ADVANCE PAROLE ALREADY AND THE APPLICATION IS PENDING. WHAT DO I DO?
USCIS is not processing advance parole applications at this time. Pending applications will be denied and the fees returned to the applicant.
I HAVE DACA AND I NEED TO TRAVEL ABROAD FOR EMERGENT REASONS NOW. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
USCIS is not processing advance parole applications at this time. Pending applications will be denied and the fees returned to the applicant.
WHAT BENEFITS CAN I GET WITH MY EXISTING IMMIGRATION STATUS?
If you currently have DACA or TPS status, and never got a social security number, now is the time to go to the local Social Security Administration to request one. If you do not have a California ID or driver’s license, you should make an appointment with the local DMV to obtain these benefits. Do note that AB-60 remains the law in California, so if your DACA gets revoked or even if you have no immigration status, you can still get a driver’s license in California.
WILL I LOSE MY FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE IF MY DACA EXPIRES?
Instate-tuition benefits in California, such as AB-540, the California DREAM Act, and the California DREAM loan program, remain in place as these are state benefits. If you have specific questions about your eligibility with regards to these state-level higher education benefits, please contact the USP academic counselor, Liliana Iglesias.
CAN LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS FOLLOW AND ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS?
California is leading the way to fight local law enforcement collaboration with federal immigration authorities, though there is always more work to be done. In 2013, the state enacted the TRUST Act (AB 4), which ended local police collaboration with ICE (or ICE holds), except for in cases of individuals with serious criminal convictions. This remains the law in California, so students and community members should continue to report crimes committed against them to UCPD, Berkeley police, and other local law enforcement. The TRUTH Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2017, brings transparency to local jail entanglements with ICE, and thus, further protects our community members from ICE custody. Campus officials across the UC system are currently investigating how to best protect undocumented students.
CAN I CONTINUE TO TRAVEL TO OTHER STATES IF I AM UNDOCUMENTED OR IF I LOSE DACA STATUS?
Traveling within 100 miles of the U.S. border (the “constitution-free” zone) is dangerous, and exposes people to detection, arrest, and detention by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operating various checkpoints along these routes. Undocumented immigrants have traveled to other states, including Hawaii and Alaska, in the past, with an unexpired passport from their consulate, or a government-issued identification document issued by the state of California, though they should fully understand and evaluate the risk of doing so to themselves under a new political Administration. When in doubt, consult with your attorney.
DO I QUALIFY FOR PUBLIC BENEFITS IN CALIFORNIA?
California has implemented some major benefit programs that are available to immigrants and people with non-immigrant status, such as a pending green card application, SIJS status, pending U or T visa.
Children, regardless of immigration status, up to the age of 19 are eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal in California.
This handy chart tells you about your public benefits as a U visa or T visa applicant. Generally, not just recipients but even applicants for a U visa are eligible for CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, Food Stamps, IHSS, General Assistance, and Refugee Social Services (RSS).
If you apply for and are denied a public benefit that you believe you may be eligible for per this handy chart, and live in Alameda County, please contact the East Bay Community Law Center’s Health and Welfare clinic at 510-548-4040 or contact the USP attorney for an internal referral.
DO I QUALIFY FOR OTHER IMMIGRATION BENEFITS?
The UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program attorney regularly screens all new clients for additional immigration benefits such as a family-based green card, U visa (victims of crimes in the U.S.), T visa (survivors of labor or sex trafficking), asylum (for people who fear persecution in their countries of origin) or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) (for children under 21 who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by a parent), and fully represents clients in seeking these additional benefits. Many undocumented Berkeley students and graduates are already in line for a more permanent legal status due to our comprehensive legal services program. The USP attorney has also helped former international students at UC Berkeley gain a more stable, and permanent legal status.
If you’ve met with the attorney since August 2015, you have already received an immigration screening. If you’ve not met with the USP attorney for a general consultation or screening, but would like to do so, you can make an appointment online. General consultation screenings take place on campus on Tuesdays between 11am and 5pm in at the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
I AM A BERKELEY STUDENT. CAN MY FAMILY MEMBERS GET IMMIGRATION HELP?
Yes, the USP attorney has worked with undocumented partners, parents and siblings of Berkeley students since August 2015, and we will continue to provide these services, subject to capacity. We are also happy to do general consultations with immediate family members who are not in the Bay Area, and have both in-house multi-lingual capacity for document translation and interpretation capacity in all other languages via a telephonic service.
I AM UNDOCUMENTED OR I AM PART OF A MIXED STATUS FAMILY. HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF AND/OR MY FAMILY MEMBERS?
Berkeley students and their immediate family members, regardless of immigration status, continue to be eligible for immigration legal services through our program. In the event of adverse immigration enforcement action, such as an ICE raid, arrest, detention, or revocation of any immigration benefit or a “Notice to Appear” for removal proceedings, current Berkeley students can text or call their immigration attorney at 5102589313.
Below, we also lay out some basic ‘Know Your Rights’ information for all immigrants:
- You have the right to remain silent and you can refuse to speak to an immigration officer
- You should carry a know your rights card and show that to immigration
- You should not open the door for unknown parties or law enforcement or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Most federal agents do not carry a warrant
- If you are unclear as to who is at the door, ask for warrant and if they don’t have warrant, you do not have to let them in
- Do not be duped into opening the door simply because the agent is looking for someone who does not reside at the address or if the agent asks you to come outside
- You have a right to lawyer and you should ask to only speak to your lawyer
- You should not sign anything given to you by an immigration officer, without speaking to an attorney
- You should always carry any valid immigration documentation for US, if you have lawful status such as a student visa, or a green card
- You should not carry foreign documentation unless that is your only form of identification:
- If individual’s only form of ID is foreign documentation, individual needs to speak to attorney to weigh pros/cons of carrying sole form of ID vs. not carrying anything and this is case specific
- As an immigrant, you should:
- Create safety plan and keep immigration documents together
- Report and document raids and arrests
National Immigration Project: Know Your Rights; Protect Yourself Against Immigration Raids
Know Your Rights info: http://www.ilrc.org/
Safety Planning: http://
CALIFORNIA JUST LEGALIZED RECREATIONAL USE OF MARIJUANA. HOW DOES THAT AFFECT ME?
On Nov. 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64 legalizing the use of recreational marijuana among people over the age of 21. It is important to understand that Prop. 64 does not change federal law and marijuana is still unlawful to possess under federal law, and can have severe immigration consequences. As such, undocumented and even lawful permanent resident students are strongly advised against obtaining a medical marijuana card or advertising their usage of controlled substances on social media. If you have an arrest, citation, infraction or conviction for any crime related to the use of a controlled substance such as marijuana, or are generally concerned about how an arrest or conviction can impact your immigration status, please contact the USP attorney, Prerna Lal.
HOW ELSE DOES THE UC BERKELEY UNDOCUMENTED STUDENT PROGRAM HELP UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS?
The program, established in 2012, in addition to providing holistic legal support and representation, provides current undocumented students at Berkeley with academic counseling, financial aid, a lending library to offset the cost of books, emergency grants, food assistance, and free mental health services.
I AM AN ALLY. HOW CAN I HELP?
At this time, our resources are completely focused on serving existing and new Berkeley students who are in need of direct legal assistance and representation. That said, people can continue to help by donating to the UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program, which holistically serves undocumented Berkeley students, and parents of Berkeley students. If there is enough interest, pro-bono coordinators at law firms in the Bay Area can reach out to Attorney Prerna Lal at email@example.com to arrange a workshop in the coming months for how existing attorneys can help take on immigration cases. Law students can help by getting legally trained to be observers with the National Lawyers Guild, giving “Know Your Rights” presentations to immigrant communities, and applying to the East Bay Community Law Center’s excellent immigration clinical program for the Fall and Spring 2018 semesters. Advocates nationwide should learn more about how to end local law enforcement collaboration with ICE, and push for sanctuary campuses and cities.
This FAQ was prepared specifically for the UC Berkeley student population by Prerna Lal, the current USP attorney. For all inquires, contact firstname.lastname@example.org