Resources for Undocumented Individuals

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Boston University strives to welcome individuals of exceptional talent into the community and does not make lawful status in the U.S. a condition for admission. We are committed to making every effort to ensure, within the bounds of what is legally permissible, that the experience of undocumented students is as similar as possible to the experience of all other students.

There are currently no state or federal laws prohibiting BU from admitting and enrolling undocumented students, nor does BU have a legal obligation to notify immigration officials of the presence of undocumented students on campus. Pursuant to FERPA and BU policy, we will not share information on the immigration status of undocumented students to any third party unless legally required by subpoena, warrant, or court order, or if approved by a student. Although undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid, they can certainly apply for private aid and scholarships.

This webpage is intended to provide information and resources for undocumented members of the Boston University community, and for their families. Please consider joining our community by selecting the level or program of study to find more information about specific admissions requirements and procedures.

The staff of the ISSO is always available to answer questions and provide assistance in strict confidence. Please contact a member of the ISSO staff with any comments, suggestions, or concerns.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

The Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy allows undocumented students who (1) came to the U.S. before they turned 16; (2) have lived here continuously since June 2007; (3) are under the age of 31; and (4) have a clean criminal record and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety, to apply for deferred action on deportation proceedings. A student who obtains DACA approval may also be eligible to work and travel outside of the US. Check the USDHS website regarding DACA for more information.

Provost Jean Morrison recently commented on DACA students in BU Today “DACA is a program that provides some security for students who through no fault of their own were brought to the United States as children, so they have no direct responsibility for their status as undocumented immigrants, says Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer. …It seems only appropriate that we stand up for these individuals, who are working to educate themselves,” Morrison says. “We believe in the premise that a vibrant community in which students can learn and mature is a community that has broad representation of people from around the United States and around the world.”… The reason we care about DACA is that we are a University that is committed to having an open and welcoming atmosphere to students from across the United States and around the globe…We think of ourselves as a culturally inclusive University, so it is important to us that the DACA students feel that they are welcome and valued here.”

January 17, 2018 – In response to this court order, the US Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal in the lawsuit seeking review before the Ninth Circuit. The USDOJ also intends to take the rare step of filing a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment, seeking direct and expedited review in the Supreme Court. Foreign nationals who have applied for DACA protections are encouraged to seek legal advice as to options during this period of time. This situation remains fluid as the US congress negotiates potential legislative action involving “dreamers”. 

January 13, 2018 – USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA due to a federal court Until further notice, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017 but no new applications will be accepted. Please contact an ISSO staff member with any questions.

September 5, 2017 – The Trump Administration rescinded the program on September 5, 2017. See the USDHS FAQs: Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for specific details regarding how the agency will handle applications for DACA benefits.

If you have been approved for DACA and do not have a request for renewal currently pending (already accepted by USCIS by 9/5/2017) and your current DACA expiration date falls between 9/5/2017 and 3/5/2018, you should file for renewal (extension) of DACA and Employment Authorization benefits on or before 10/5/2017. In addition, we do not recommend travel outside of the US on Advance Parole without consulting an immigration attorney.

BU students with questions about the program’s status, or their own immigration status, may contact the University’s International Students & Scholars Office in confidence at 617-358-3565 or by email. They may also seek help from Marsh Chapel, the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, and Student Health Services.

President Trump’s unraveling of DACA is not “consistent with our highest ideals and national history,” says BU President Robert A. Brown. “I am hopeful that…the Congress will achieve consensus on a legislative solution that is humane and inclusive, while addressing concerns about enforcement of our immigration laws,”

The Boston University staff and administrators continue to express strong support for DACA students and continue to advocate for immediate action that would implement a permanent solution to allow these students to remain in the US to achieve their professional and educational goals.