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FAQ on DACA, Immigration Enforcement, and Executive Order

Undocumented and DACA Students
I am not a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident and I do not have a visa. Am I required to disclose my status to the University? If I disclose my status, does the University have an obligation to report my status to the state or federal government?

University students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who are not eligible for an F-1 student visa are not required to disclose their status to the University.The University respects the privacy of all students and will continue to comply with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Action (FERPA).  For more information on the University’s FERPA policy click here. It is the University’s policy not to disclose a student’s education record without written consent from the student, receipt of a valid search warrant or subpoena, or as otherwise required by applicable law. It should be noted, however, that University students who have an F-1 student visa waived FERPA privacy protections when they signed the Form I-20.

What is DACA?

DACA refers to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA was established through an executive order issued by President Obama in 2012. On September 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security announced that DACA has been rescinded and set forth the steps for winding down the DACA program over the next six months.

DACA provided administrative relief from deportation for a period of two years for eligible people who apply for and were approved for DACA relief. Those granted DACA relief received a two-year employment authorization document (“EAD”) and can use that document to apply for a Social Security Number. At the end of the two-year period, eligible people were required to  reapply to maintain their DACA status and the right to work.

Eligibility for DACA was limited to applicants who met all of the following:

  • Had been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday;
  • Continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2012;
  • Were currently in school or had graduated /earned GED or were honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces; and
  • Had not been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, or did not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

DACA did not convey legal status or a path to citizenship for eligible people. That requires Congressional legislation. 

There are approximately 800,000 people who have been granted DACA relief.

What does the repeal of DACA mean?

On September 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security announced that DACA has been rescinded and set forth the steps for winding down the DACA program over the next six months.

Current DACA recipients will be able to remain eligible for deferred action and will keep their employment authorizations until they expire, unless they are terminated or revoked for other reasons. DACA deferments and employment authorizations are generally valid for two years. 

If you filed an initial application for DACA before September 5, 2017, the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) will process that application on an individual, case-by-case basis. Initial applications filed after September 5, 2017 will not be processed.

If you filed an application to renew your DACA status on or before September 5, 2017, USCIS will process that application on an individual, case-by-case basis.

If you have not yet filed an application to renew your DACA status and your DACA benefits expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, you must file a renewal application before October 5, 2017. You should file this application as soon as possible. USCIS will reject all DACA renewal applications filed after October 5, 2017.

For more information, please see the following link:  https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/05/frequently-asked-questions-rescission-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca

What should I do if I currently registered under DACA?

If you are currently registered under DACA, you should check the expiration date for your registration. If your registration expires between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, you must file a renewal application before October 5, 2017.  Do not wait until October 5, 2017.  You should file this application as soon as possible. USCIS will reject all DACA renewal applications filed after October 5, 2017. 

Renewal applications will not be accepted if your DACA status expires on or after March 5, 2018.

If your renewal application is approved, your DACA status will be extended for two years.

Prior to renewing your DACA status, we strongly encourage you to consult with an immigration attorney. If you need assistance in finding an immigration attorney please contact Krittika Onsanit (konsanit@richmond.edu, 804-287-6499) or Diana Trinh (dtrinh@richmond.edu 804-484-1458) in the Office of International Education. You do not need to disclose your status to obtain assistance in finding an immigration attorney.

The following link provides information on free DACA renewal clinics in Richmond:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080b44acab28a0ff2-daca

Should I apply for DACA now? Should I renew my DACA registration?

If you did not file an initial application for DACA before September 5, 2017, it is too late to apply for DACA. 

If you have registered under DACA and you registration expires between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, you should apply to renew your DACA benefits as soon as possible and in no event later than October 5, 2017. Renewal applications filed after October 5, 2017 will not be processed. If your DACA registration expires, you will lose your work eligibility and could be subject to deportation proceedings. Prior to applying for DACA or renewing your DACA status, we strongly encourage you to consult with an immigration attorney. If you need assistance in finding an immigration attorney please contact Krittika Onsanit (konsanit@richmond.edu, 804-287-6499) or Diana Trinh (dtrinh@richmond.edu, 804-484-1458) in the Office of International Education. You do not need to disclose your status to obtain assistance in finding an immigration attorney.

The following link provides information on free DACA renewal clinics in Richmond:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080b44acab28a0ff2-daca

Does the repeal of DACA subject DACA students to immediate deportation?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) states it will not target DACA holders specifically for removal (i.e. will not use registration information to specifically target DACA holders); however, DACA holders will be treated like other undocumented people in the United States.

ICE stated it will not “proactively” seek out DACA holders/applicants using information in the DACA application database for immigration enforcement purposes; however, that information could be obtained for national security and/or criminal investigations.

DACA and undocumented students are strongly encouraged to avoid any violation of state or federal law.   The Department of Homeland Security has prioritized certain individuals subject to removal from the U.S., including individuals charged with a crime (even if innocent) and individuals convicted of a crime.

Should I travel or study abroad as a DACA student?

We recommend that DACA students avoid all travel abroad, including study abroad.  As of September 5, 2017, USCIS will no longer approve any new Form I-131 applications for advance parole, which allows DACA recipients to travel abroad.  If you do travel abroad, you may not be able to return to the United States.  If your major or area of study requires a study abroad experience, you are encouraged to contact your academic advisor or the Office of International Education to evaluate your alternatives; many faculty are aware of this problem and departments and programs are working to create alternatives to study or travel abroad requirements.  You do not need to disclose your status to discuss your alternatives to study abroad.

Will DACA be replaced?

It is now up to Congress to pass a legislation to replace the DACA program. Among the legislation introduced since January 2017 are: the BRIDGE Act (H.R. 496); the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act (H.R. 1468); the 2017 Dream Act (S. 1615 & H.R. 3440); and the Hope Act (H.R. 3591).

Immigration Enforcement
What is the Administration's current immigration enforcement policy?

On February 20, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued two memoranda relating to immigration enforcement initiatives for the new administration. The key aspects of those memos are:   

DHS has prioritized certain individuals subject to removal from the U.S.  The list includes:

  • Anyone convicted of a crime;
  • Anyone charged with a crime (even if innocent);
  • Anyone who has committed an act which constitutes a criminal offense (even if not charged);
  • Anyone who engaged in fraud or misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a government agency (this would include using a false Social Security Number or false claim to U.S. citizenship);
  • Anyone who has abused a program related to receipt of public benefits;
  • Anyone who has been ordered removed from the U.S. but has not left; and
  • Anyone who, in the judgment of an immigration officer, poses a risk to public safety or national security.
How might a person become "removable" for purposes of immigration law and, thus, subject to priority removal under the new enforcement policy?

In order to trigger the “removal priority” list, an individual must first be “removable” from the U.S. Those who qualify as “removable” include anyone who has violated their status in any way. 

It is very important to pay close attention to the requirements of your visa status. For example, students who drop below required full-time course loads, or who work without authorization (e.g. CPT, OPT), or faculty/staff who fall out of status (even inadvertently) or overstay the end date on the I-94 record render themselves removable. In order to avoid being placed in removal proceedings, it is more important than ever for international students and faculty/staff to make sure that they maintain their legal status in the United States at all times.

You can view your I-94 record on the website at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home.

What is "expedited removal" and do I need to worry about it if I am not near the U.S. border?

The February 20, 2017 DHS enforcement policy memos extend “expedited removal” proceedings nationwide, rather than just within 100 miles of a border. People who are unable to show evidence of lawful immigration status in the US can potentially face expedited removal from the U.S. without a hearing. This makes it imperative that individuals carry proof of legal status with them at all times. This must be balanced against the risk of losing these important documents.  We certainly encourage you to maintain copies of all of your status documents on your phone so that they can be presented at any time, if asked. If you travel domestically or internationally, you should definitely carry original documents with you.

Do I need to carry my proof of legal status with me? When should I keep it with me?

Students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to carry proof of legal status with them at all times. Specifically:

  • DACA students should keep their DACA registration with them at all times;
  • F-1 students should carry passports, I-20, printed copies of I-94, and EADs (where applicable);
  • J-1 students should carry passports, DS-2019, and printed copies of I-94;
  • Faculty/Staff using temporary visas should carry passports, I-797 approval notices, and printed copies of I-94; and
  • Permanent residents should carry their green cards.

We certainly encourage you to maintain copies of all of your status documents on your phone so that they can be presented at any time, if asked. If you travel domestically or internationally, you should definitely carry original documents with you.

I am planning to travel abroad. What precautions should I take before traveling?

DACA students and students without proof of legal status are strongly encouraged to avoid international travel. DACA students should keep their DACA registration with them at all times.

U.S. citizens should keep their valid passport with them at all times. Ensure that your passport will not expire while you out of the country.

Internationals students, faculty, and staff should travel with a valid passport and proof of legal status in the United States. Ensure that your passport and proof of legal status will not expire while you are outside the United States.

What should I expect when I go through Customs?

All travelers should expect long lines through airports and land ports of entry, with additional time spent screening each person seeking entry to the U.S. All travelers, including U.S. citizens, should remember that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have broad authority to stop travelers seeking entry to the United States and to subject travelers to secondary inspection.  Everyone arriving in the Customs territory of the U.S., including U.S. citizens may have their persons, baggage, and merchandise, including laptops, tablets, and cell phones, searched by CBP agents. Such an inspection may happen because CBP needs more information or it could be a random search.

For more information regarding your rights when traveling to the United States, see the following link: https://www.aclu.org/files/kyr/kyr_english_5.pdf.

Should I bring my laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone with me when I travel abroad?

CBP agents can inspect your laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone, even if you are a permanent resident or U.S. citizen. CBP agents may ask you for your pin or password to access the contents of your electronic devices. Border agents may look through the documents on your electronic devices and may swipe through your phone. CBP agents may keep your electronic device for further inspection or to copy data.

Travelers may wish to back-up their devices before going abroad.  

Additionally, University faculty and staff are reminded that the University’s Data Protection Policy prohibits maintaining “Confidential” or “Restricted” data, which would include education, personnel, and tenure and promotion records, on a personal electronic device. The policy also encourages faculty members to remove student education records from laptop computers as soon as possible. Faculty and staff may use their Box account or Blackboard to maintain education records. 

Does the University of Richmond Police Department (URPD) assist federal agencies with enforcing immigration laws?

URPD has not entered in to an agreement with the federal government to assist with enforcement of federal immigration laws. Except to the extent mandated by law, URPD does not disclose the immigration status of students to federal immigration authorities. URPD is, however, obligated to comply with applicable law and valid subpoenas and search warrants.

What is a sanctuary campus? Is UR a sanctuary campus?

Some colleges and universities have designated themselves as “sanctuary campuses.”  This term does not have any legal meaning. As a result, it does not limit the ability of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to enforce immigration laws.  As a result, the University of Richmond has not declared itself a sanctuary campus.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about my status?

If you are a DACA student or a student without proof of legal presence and wish to find an immigration attorney, please contact Krittika Onsanit (konsanit@richmond.edu, 804-287-6499) or Diana Trinh (dtrinh@richmond.edu, 804-484-1458) in the Office of International Education. 

If you need other assistance and are an undergraduate student, please contact the Dean of Westhampton or Richmond College, or if you are a graduate, law, or SPCS student, please contact the appropriate Dean of Students.

If you are an international faculty member with a visa or green card, please feel free to contact Carl Sorensen, Associate Vice President for Human Resources (csorense@richmond.edu, 804-287-8747), Krittika Onsanit (konsanit@richmond.edu, 804-287-6499) or Diana Trinh (dtrinh@richmond.edu, 804-484-1458) in the Office of International Education, or Shannon Sinclair, Vice President and General Counsel (ssinclai@richmond.edu, 804-287-6683)

How do I find an immigration attorney to help me?

If you are a faculty or staff member and need to engage an immigration attorney, please contact Carl Sorensen, Associate Vice President for Human Resources (csorense@richmond.edu, 804-287-8747).

If you are a student and need to engage an immigration attorney, please contact Krittika Onsanit (konsanit@richmond.edu, 804-287-6499) or Diana Trinh (dtrinh@richmond.edu, 804-484-1458) in the Office of International EducationThe Office of International Education has a list of immigration attorneys, including those who may be able to provide assistance on a pro bono basis.

What should I do if I am stopped or questioned about my immigration status?

You are encouraged to consult with an immigration attorney for more information about your rights in the event that you are stopped, questioned, or detained in connection with your immigration status. 

If you are a student and need to engage an immigration attorney, please contact Krittika Onsanit (konsanit@richmond.edu, 804-287 -6499) or Diana Trinh (dtrinh@richmond.edu, 804 -484-1458) in the Office of International Education. The Office of International Education has a list of immigration attorneys, including those who may be able to provide assistance on a pro bono basis.

If you are a faculty or staff member and need to engage an immigration attorney, please contact Carl Sorensen, Associate Vice President for Human Resources (csorense@richmond.edu, 804-287-8747).

For a summary of your rights, please see the following link:  https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights?topics=270

What should I do if an immigration official contacts me for information about a University student, faculty, or staff member?

The University of Richmond is committed to protecting the privacy of its students, faculty, and staff while meeting its legal obligations to provide certain information to government agencies. 

If an agent of a federal or state law enforcement agency approaches you at home or on campus seeking information about a University student, faculty, or staff member, ask the individual for his/her business card and badge. Ask the individual if they have a search warrant or subpoena. If they do, see the guidance below. If they do not, advise the individual that you are not authorized to release the requested information but will have the appropriate University official contact the law enforcement agent.  Contact Shannon Sinclair, Vice President and General Counsel, (ssinclai@richmond.edu, 804-287-6683) or Dave McCoy, Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police (dmccoy2@richmond.edu, 804-221-5902) and they will ensure appropriate follow-up with the law enforcement agent.

If you receive a telephone call from someone identifying themselves as an agent of a federal or state law enforcement agency, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and seeking information about a student, faculty member, or staff member, ask for that person’s name, agency and contact information. Advise the caller that you are not authorized to release the requested information but will have the appropriate University official contact the caller. Contact Shannon Sinclair, Vice President and General Counsel, (ssinclai@richmond.edu, 804-287-6683) and she will ensure appropriate follow-up with the caller.

If you are presented with a search warrant to search University premises or records, ask the official presenting the warrant for his/her name, agency, and badge.   Ask to make a copy of the warrant.  Immediately contact Shannon Sinclair, Vice President and General Counsel, (ssinclai@richmond.edu, 804-287-6683) or Carl Sorensen, Associate Vice President for Human Resources (csorense@richmond.edu, 804-287-8747) and they will assist in responding to the warrant. Do not attempt to stop the search once you are presented with the warrant and the law enforcement official has shown their identification.

If you receive a subpoena for University records, make a note of how the subpoena was received – by hand, by mail, by fax, etc. Keep the original document that you received and the envelope that it came in. Do not respond to the subpoena immediately.  Most subpoenas provide a reasonable period of time for response. Contact Shannon Sinclair, Vice President and General Counsel, (ssinclai@richmond.edu, 804-287-6683) and she will assume responsibility for the University’s response to the subpoena.

Executive Order
What is the status of the "travel ban" issued by President Trump?

President Trump issued an Executive Order 13780 on March 6, 2017 prohibiting entry into the U.S. by immigrants and visitors from six countries -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The Order exempts certain categories of people, including U.S. lawful permanent residents and dual nationals traveling on a passport from a country that is not one of the six designated countries. The order suspends refugee resettlement in the U.S. for a period of 120 days. 

The Executive Order was originally scheduled to take effect on March 16, 2017, however, the Federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland enjoined enforcement of the travel restrictions set forth in in Sections 2 and 6 of the Executive order. In June 2017, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari, consolidated the two cases, and partially stayed the injunction issued by the lower courts.  

The Supreme Court held that Section 2(c) and 6(a) of the executive order could be enforced, but not against “foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The Court stated that the sort of "bona fide relationship" that qualifies for individuals is a "close familial relationship" to a person in the U.S. As for a "bona fide relationship" to a U.S. entity, the Court indicated that the relationship must be “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course.” The Court also held that a refugee with a credible claim of a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity may not be excluded, even if the 50,000 cap on refugees has been reached.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began to enforce the travel restrictions contained in the Executive Order as of June 29, 2017.

Who is exempt from Executive Order 13780?

The travel restrictions in the Executive Order do not apply to Foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen who:

  • Had a valid visa as on 8:00 p.m. EDT on June 29, 2017;
  • Obtain a waiver from the Department of State or U.S. Customs and Border Protection; or
  • Demonstrate that they have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, as defined by the Supreme Court’s Order of June 26, 2017.

For more information on the scope of the Executive order, see the following links:

I am a U.S. Permanent Resident. Does Executive Order 13780 affect me?

If you are a U.S. Permanent Resident born in one of the affected countries, the new Executive Order should not prevent your reentry to the U.S., however, you should anticipate additional screening at the time of re-entry.