• W&L employees should keep the immigration status of all students confidential.  Even before deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), undocumented students were allowed to study at a private university in the State of VA without having to be reported to the Virginia Department of Education.
  • Typically, 5-10 current students are undocumented, hold DACA, or are otherwise deferred action eligible.
  • Undocumented students can study at a private university in Virginia (or a public university if they pay out-of-state tuition).  They can study, but not work.  They can receive W&L financial aid, but not federal or state aid.  They are currently unable to get a driver’s license, though legislation pending before the VA General Assembly would permit undocumented immigrants to obtain a one-year driver’s permit.  They are unable to get a social security number, though a presently undocumented person could have previously been documented and social security numbers do not expire if they were able to attain one previously.
  • DACA students can apply for a work authorization, a driver’s license, and a social security number.  Work authorization and driver’s license typically last for the period of deferred action (typically two-year periods).  Even if DACA ends, a student could potentially remain in status until their most recent renewal period expires, though that is not certain.  DACA students who were granted advanced parole (a lengthy process with significant paperwork and additional fees) before September 5, 2017 could be eligible to study abroad, but travel abroad is not recommended at this time.
  • Undocumented/DACA students are counted as international students statistically at the university, but are not considered by the Center for International Education (CIE) as international students requiring the regular support services given to international students who are visa holders, since undocumented/DACA students have usually been in the United States for most of their life and are exempt from the usual United States Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) scrutiny.  CIE certainly provides support as needed if an undocumented/DACA student reaches out to them.

Class Deans

  • reach out proactively to check in with undocumented/DACA students*help connect them with other undocumented/DACA students if they want

    *explain Angel Fund and that fees can sometimes be waived or covered (ex. Outing Club trips)


    David Baluarte – Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at W&L Law

    Matthew Boaz – Visiting Assistant Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at W&L Law

         *advise and facilitate renewals before the possibility of DACA being rescinded in June 2020

         *offer free legal counsel to undocumented/DACA students in immigration matters


    Sally Richmond – VP for Admissions and Financial Aid

    Hunter Swanson – Associate Director for International Education

    Matthew Loar – Fellowships

    *FLIP (First-Generation Low-Income Partnership) and Diversity and First-Generation Working Group (DFGWG)

    *Food Pantry / Lending Library / Clothes Closet

    Mentorship Groups

    50 Ways Rockbridge (50waysrockbridge.org) – Ellen Mayock

         *community organization

         *maintains a list of local orgs that provide immigration services

         *local working groups for race/immigration/gender

    ESOLEllen Mayock

         *W&L-based student volunteer organization

         *provides language/tutoring/translation/interpretation services in the community

    For general information about DACA, additional resources, and connecting with others – current students recommend https://unitedwedream.org/about/projects/deferred-action/

    For learning about different internships for DACA students – current students recommend https://mydocumentedlife.org/category/internships/

    Jen Smyrnos – W&L Law alum in Roanoke specializing in immigration law (and teaching at W&L Law)



    Have additional expenses

    *immigration permit, biometric screenings, legal fees, etc.

    *they spend time working a job to cover these costs when most students don’t need to work

    *must get to Charleston or DC offices

    *winter clothes

    Hard to earn money for additional expenses

    *may not qualify for most fellowships and scholarships

    *difficult getting a job

    *can’t accept federal work study money – but covered by W&L

    *may be unable to drive a University vehicle (Traveller, volunteer shifts, etc.)

    Limited opportunities

    *study abroad may be difficult or impossible

    *people don’t understand why they can’t and unintentionally force them to share their status

    *can’t take the bar exam in most states

    Difficult for parents and family to provide support

    *language barriers

    US education system different

    *not comfortable asking questions

    *unable to attend parent orientation or parent and family weekend

    *can’t/don’t read emails, etc.

    Issues with peers

    *not included in group work for classes

    *party themes that appropriate their culture

    *peers commenting the University puts too much emphasis on diversity


    Possible impact of DACA ending or expiring

    *Students could not do work study any more (Business Office requires paperwork)

    *Study abroad option that was already tenuous is essentially eliminated

    *Driver’s license and work authorizations may become invalid or will expire

    *Could not drive anymore unless state passes legislation allowing undocumented to obtain permits

    *Domestic travel could be more difficult having to use a foreign ID

    *Could have no valid ID of any kind if no passport from another country

    *SSN is still important, may be invalid temporarily, but could be reauthorized by DHS or citizenship


    –> Deferred action is a reprieve from immigration laws, and immigration authorities have long had the authority to defer action under relevant immigration statutes and regulations.