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Resources for Undocumented Students

A Message From the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration

Aug. 3, 2018: D.C. District Judge Bates orders restart of the DACA program. In April, Bates had originally delayed his order for 90 days, and then continued the delay in July while reviewing briefs. Today's decision delays the order to restart the DACA program till Aug. 23 in order to allow the government to appeal. Judge Bates' decision is the most significant challenge to the administration's decision to terminate the program last September and the most expansive since it orders the full restart of the DACA program, including new applications and not only renewals. It is excellent news. See this Politico article for details.

Please note, however, that the hearing for the DACA case in Texas brought by the Texas attorney general and six other states – calling for the termination of DACA – is scheduled for next week, Aug. 8, and Judge Hanen could rule anytime after that, potentially setting up contradictory orders and a swift appeals process.

We will be monitoring the situation, and bring you updates as they develop.

Legal Resources and Information

Whitworth is engaging our network of alumni and friends who hold expertise in immigration law to connect students to legal clinics, resources and consultation opportunities that may be of assistance as they navigate questions related to immigration status and implications.

World Relief Spokane 

World Relief immigration attorney Vanessa Mathisen-Nelsen will provide free legal advice to Whitworth students with questions about the renewal of the DACA application. This is a safe organization to work with and you can trust this attorney. All information shared with her is and will be confidential. Please, follow these instructions. The following information is needed to provide a thorough review of your individual case so the attorney can explore all of your options and make recommendations to you.

  • You will get a one-time counsel, at no cost.
  • You must schedule the meeting yourself by emailing or emailing Vanessa Mathisen-Nelsen directly at When emailing, you should give days and times you are available (please give as much flexibility as possible). You should also inform in the email that you are a Whitworth student. You should send the email as soon as possible. In summary, ask for an appointment, give potential dates and times, and let World Relief know you are from Whitworth.

You should bring the following to your meeting with the attorney:

  • All your current paperwork from immigration
  • Identifying documentation (i.e., birth certificate, or any other official identifying documentation)
  • Documentation of any criminal history (bring anything you have)
  • If married, bring marriage certificate
  • Information on family history (and relationships). For example where, when and how they arrived to the U.S., who they came with, etc.
  • Personal information that might be relevant to your immigration case


Since 2001, there have been several iterations of legislation in the U.S. Congress to resolve this dilemma. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was originally introduced in 2001 as bipartisan legislation at the federal level (S. 1291) by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin to provide a pathway to permanent residency and U.S. citizenship for qualified undocumented immigrant students. Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a six-year-long conditional path to citizenship that requires two years of completion toward a four-year degree, completion of an associate degree or four years of military service. In 2010, although the bill received enough votes to pass in the House of Representatives, and the legislation had majority support in the Senate with 55-41 in favor, 60 votes were needed for closure and passage; hence the DREAM Act bill failed to pass. 

DREAM Act Eligibility

  • Proof of having arrived in the United States at age 16 or younger.
  • Proof of residence in the United States for a least five consecutive years since their date of arrival.
  • Must be between the ages of 12 and 35 at time of bill enactment (depending on the version of the bill).
  • Having graduated from an American high school or obtained a GED.
  • Have a "good moral character," essentially defined as the absence of a significant criminal record (or any major drug charges), compliance with selective service laws and an absence of fraudulent information in documents.
  • Qualify for "conditional" status during a six-year period if they meet criteria.
  • Need to meet one of the three following criteria in the six years:
    1. Graduate from a two-year community college
    2. Complete two years toward a four-year degree
    3. Serve in the military for four years

Financial Aid

Although undocumented students are unable to qualify for federal student aid using the FAFSA, there are a number of scholarships at Whitworth University and beyond to make attending a private college possible.

Undocumented students attending Whitworth are considered for the university's academic and artistic achievement scholarships.

Undocumented students who are also Washington residents may also be eligible for financial aid funding through the state of Washington, including the Washington State College Grant, the Washington State College Bound Scholarship, and the Washington State Work Study program.

More scholarship information:

Beyond HB1079 is a student leadership project founded at the University of Washington in 2012. In addition to an annual leadership conference, the group prepares an annual scholarship list with Washington state and national scholarships, and contact information for higher education institutions in the state. Visit the Beyond HB-1079 website under Scholarships to view its full list for this year. In 2003, the Washington State Legislature approved HB (House Bill) 1079, an unprecedented action to make college more affordable for undocumented students in Washington state. See its webpage for information about this legislation and additional scholarship opportunities.

Scholarships for Latinx students:

Career Connections

Students who are DACA recipients are eligible to work on and off campus with work authorization documents. Most students choose to provide an I-766 (the card issued to undocumented individuals who are authorized to work temporarily in the U.S.) or I-551 (the Permanent Resident Card). A full list of documents can be found on Page 3 of the I-9 Form. Additionally, a Social Security number is required to fill out the W-4 form.

On-Campus Resources

The Whitworth University Career Services Office is committed to providing the resources and guidance required by our students and alumni as they discover their unique talents and abilities, exercise these abilities through experiential opportunities, and effectively initiate and implement their career plans. We provide individualized advising and services to students throughout their undergraduate experience and after graduation. Our  are a great way to begin. To make an appointment, come to Whitworth Career Services (Hixson Union Building, second floor) or call 509.777.3272.

Study Away

NAFSA (the Association for International Educators) has provided up-to-date information for undocumented students interested in studying and traveling abroad. The following links provide support and advise students to not pursue study-abroad opportunities until the future of DACA is known.

Know Your Rights

The following information serves as a tool to guide you and help you understand the pathway to achieve U.S. residency and citizenship. Furthermore, you will find information about the civil rights and liberties that all humans have under the Constitution.

Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Learn about what it takes to become a permanent resident or citizen of the United States by clicking on the following links:

Civil Liberties and Rights When Stopped By a Police Officer, Immigration Official or the FBI

To read more about your rights during an immigration raid or if an official arrives at your doorstep, please read page 10 of Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff, created by United We Dream, the National Immigration Law Center, First Focus and the AFT.


  • You have the right to remain silent
  • Know who to call (i.e. relative, attorney)

Don't Provide the Following Information

  • When and where you were born
  • Your address
  • Where your parents were born
  • Where you lived before living in the U.S.
  • When you came to the U.S.
  • Your nationality
  • Where your passport is from
  • Whether you have a Social Security number
  • Whether you or your family members have U.S. citizenship, permanent residence (green card) or other immigration documents
  • False information (name, etc.)
  • False identification
  • Answers to questions about immigration status

Create a Plan

  • Have an emergency contact list
  • Do not carry identification with false information

Home Raids

  • Keep door closed
  • Ask what agency law enforcement officers are a part of
  • Ask Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and/or police if they have a warrant — have them slip it under the door

If in Immigration Detention

  • Do not sign any documents regarding voluntary departure/order of removal
  • Call your attorney/relative
  • Obtain a notice to appear

For more information about civil liberties and rights, please visit the American Civil Liberties Union website and United We Dream.

Mental Health & Wellness

Whitworth is invested in ensuring our capacity to provide responsive mental health and health resources to all of our students, including undocumented students.

On-Campus Resources

Counseling Center
Schumacher Hall
Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
For counseling appointments, please call 509.777.3259.

Health Center
Schumacher Hall
Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
For appointments, please call 509.777.3259.

The Whitworth Health & Counseling Center is committed to serving you. We pride ourselves on maintaining a nurturing and supportive environment with personal touches that make you feel welcome and cared for. You are a part of our community, and we hope to help make your college experience a time of growth in mind and heart. Caring for your body is just as important as nurturing your mind.

Off-Campus Resources

Puentes mobilizes mental health resources to help undocumented migrants and their families cope and flourish. The group creates innovative therapeutic spaces to promote social healing, promote the recovery of social agency, and engage community members to work on immigration issues in the U.S. For more information about the group's resources, visit the Puentes website.

Support & Resources

Online Resources