Federal Laws and Policies

What is DACA?

If you need assistance with DACA, please refer to Community Resources.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an executive order by the Obama Administration announced in 2012, which grants undocumented youth recipients a social security number, work authorization & driver license/identification. DACA does not currently provide a long-term pathway to citizenship. 

  • The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) creates $3 Million Fund to Cover DACA Application Filing Fees for Undocumented Students, Faculty, and Staff

    The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has created a $3 million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) filing fee assistance fund for individuals across the California Community College system. The fund will cover the $495 DACA application filing fees for students, faculty, and staff affiliated with a California Community College.

    Through the California Community College Immigration Services Project, nine Legal Service Providers have been contracted to provide immigration legal services, including DACA initial application, renewal assistance, and consultations to screen for affirmative immigration relief, to immigrant students, faculty and staff. Eligible students, faculty, and staff can access these supports confidentially through identified host colleges in their region. The legal service providers have committed to seeing each case from start to finish as long as they were affiliated with a California Community College at intake.

    To access the DACA filing fee assistance, students, faculty, and staff need to make an appointment with the closest identified host college within their region, which can be found on the Chancellor’s Office website. For questions regarding eligibility or issues with scheduling, please contact Alonso Garcia via email at algarcia@foundationccc.org.
  • July 16, 2021: A Federal District Court in Texas issued a ruling in Texas v. U.S> limiting the DACA program and declaring it unlawful. More detailed information will be offered as we learn more, but for now it is important to understand how this ruling impacts the DACA community. Learn more at Community Alert DACA Update - July 2021 (PDF).
  • December 7, 2020: Department of Homeland Security announces on its websites that it will accept DACA applications from first-time applicants, previously approved DACA and work-permits approved for 1 year will be extended to 2 years, and future DACA renewals are for two years.
  • November 14, 2020: A federal district court in New York ruled that DHS unlawfully issued its July 28, 2020 memorandum. The July 2020 memorandum had limited the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program by directing USCIS to (1) reject all initial requests, (2) reject DACA advance parole requests unless there are “exceptional circumstances” and (3) limit DACA renewals to 1 year rather than 2 years. The Federal Court in New York held that the July 28, 2020 DHS memorandum was invalid because Chad Wolf was not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, so he had no authority to issue it. On December 4, 2020, the court formally vacated the memo and specifically ordered DHS to announce on its websites that it will accept initial DACA requests, renewal requests, and advance parole requests and that DACA and work permits granted for only 1 year are automatically extended to two years.
  • July 28, 2020: The Department of Homeland Security issued a memo stating changes to the DACA program to reject any new DACA applications and to limit the pending DACA renewals to one year.
  • July 17, 2020: The District Court in Maryland ordered the Administration to fully reopen the program, reiterating what the Supreme Court ordered a month prior.
  • June 18, 2020: The Supreme Court ordered the Administration to start accepting new DACA applications and requests for Advance Parole. Though the Supreme Court ordered this, USCIS did not begin to accept new initial applications.
  • January 13, 2018: Due to a federal court order, USCIS resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA.  Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017. Please visit: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Response to January 2018 Preliminary Injunction.
  • September 5th, 2017: Trump Administration announced the rescission of the DACA Program.

The National Immigration Law Center has up to date information about DACA.

Another good resource is the California Immigrant Guide, which details on the impact of the DACA announcement on State Programs.

What is the DREAM Act?

The Federal Development, Relief, And Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The goal of the Federal DREAM Act was to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth who grew up in the United States. It was first introduced in Congress in 2001.

However, to this day, the Federal Dream Act has not yet passed. 

For information about DREAM ACT:

Resources for Special Immigration Statuses for Unique Populations

U-Visa: U Nonimmigrant Eligibility

VAWA: Violence Against Women Act – potential to become a lawful permanent resident

T-Visa: T Nonimmigrant Status for Victims of Human Trafficking

California Laws and Policies

AB 21 passed 2017, requires the governing boards of community college districts, Trustees of the California State University, colleges of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and requests the University of California, consistent with state and federal law, to refrain from disclosing personal information concerning students, faculty, and staff.

Assembly Bill 540 (AB540) is a law that was passed in 2001 that allows undocumented students who meet certain requirements to pay resident instead of non-resident tuition fees in California public colleges and universities. For additional information visit Applying to Shasta College/California Residency

SB 68 passed 2017, expands eligibility for the exemption from paying nonresident tuition at California’s public postsecondary institutions, as established under AB 540 (Firebaugh, Chapter 814, Statutes of 2001), to students who attended, or attained credits earned while in California, equivalent to three or more years at an elementary school, secondary school, adult school and/or California Community College. The bill also allows a student to combine attendance or credits earned at these institutions to meet the statutory requirements for the nonresident tuition exemption.

The California Dream Act refers to Assembly Bill 130 & 131 that passed through California legislature in 2011. AB 130 & 131 enabled eligible undocumented students to receive state funded financial aid and privately funded scholarships. The California Dream Act has nothing to do with immigration or pathway to citizenship. It is only for the purposes of receiving state financial aid. For more information, please visit Complete the California Dream Act Application.

Among other provisions unrelated to higher education, AB 134 an additional $10 million in financial aid for Dreamers in the California Community Colleges, California State University, and University of California systems. The community college allocation is $7 million to campuses for emergency financial aid resources to students affected by President Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program. 

Additional information regarding this program is available here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB134

Senate Bill 150 passed 2013, where concurrently enrolled students (high school students enrolled in college classes) who are classified as non-resident students for fee/tuition purposes may be eligible for the SB150 waiver of non-resident fees while still in high school. Students must be part-time (enrolled in 11 units or less) who currently reside in California and are attending high school in California.

Governor Brown signed AB 60 into law in 2013, which directs the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue a driver’s license to any California resident who is eligible, regardless of immigration status. This means that an applicant who is undocumented can receive a driver’s license under AB 60. View AB 60 Driver's License Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Senate Bill 1159, signed into law by Governor Brown in September of 2014, will allow individual applicants for professional licenses to use either a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) in their process to seek licensure. The bill also prohibits, except as specified, any entity within the department [of consumer affairs] from denying licensure to an applicant based on his or her citizenship status or immigration status.

AB 343 passed 2017, exempts California Community College students who are refugees or special immigrant visa holders, who upon entering the United States settled in California, from paying nonresident student fees. The bill also authorizes a community college district to claim these students for apportionment purposes.

SB 54 passed 2017, establishes restrictions on the use of state agency or department money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.