Update on Support and Resources for Undocumented Members of our Community

January 23, 2020

To: Members of the University Community
From: Melissa Gilliam, Vice Provost, and Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: Update on Support and Resources for Undocumented Members of our Community
Date: January 22, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion in the coming months on the federal government’s proposed termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This important program, which was introduced in 2012, has enabled approximately 800,000 young people to remain in the United States, and among other benefits, pursue educational opportunities here, including at the University of Chicago.

We know that uncertainty over the program’s future is concerning to many members of the University community, including those who depend directly on the program as well as their friends, families, and colleagues. We are writing to reaffirm the University’s unwavering support for all members of our community who may be affected by changes to the DACA program, and to share the steps we are taking to ensure that everyone can continue to participate fully in their education as well as University programs and activities, with the resources they need to succeed. The input of undocumented students and advocates on campus has been critical as we have developed these resources.

As President Zimmer and Provost Diermeier said in a letter to President Trump in 2017, “our students who qualify for DACA are among the most talented and intellectually energetic students in the world.” The University joined amicus briefs filed in federal cases challenging the termination of DACA, and encouraged the Illinois congressional delegation to introduce legislation to protect the ability of DACA-eligible students, staff, and scholars to live in the U.S. and pursue their education and careers here.

Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, we will continue to support students who may be affected by changes to the DACA program. As always, we are committed to helping students successfully continue in their academic program and complete their degree. The University will continue to meet the full demonstrated financial aid needs of undocumented students in the College. Financial and other arrangements will be made with impacted undergraduate, graduate, and professional students on a case-by-case basis, as each student’s situation is unique. Undergraduate, graduate and professional students with any questions or concerns about their ability to continue with their degree program should meet with their dean of students.

The University will continue working on many fronts to ensure that undocumented members of the University community are welcomed at UChicago and can fully take part in University life. These steps include:

  • Know Your Rights workshops for students, including those who are new to campus, employees, and their families. The most recent workshop was held in November, and we will consider an additional workshop later this year depending on developments.
  • Free legal screenings with attorneys from Chicago law firms; these sessions typically are available immediately following Know Your Rights workshops.
  • website dedicated to undocumented students.
  • Emergency financial assistance for undocumented students (Graduate students should contact Ireri Rivas at 773-702-2435 and mirivas@uchicago.edu for information.  Undergraduate students should contact Devon Moore at 773-702-4537 and devonmoore@uchicago.edu).
  • Free individual and group counseling services tailored to the needs of undocumented students – contact Student Support Services at 773-702-2435 or the Center for College Student Success at 773-702-4537 for full details.

We encourage students who may be affected by these changes to contact any of our key support offices for assistance -- Student Support Services (SSS)Center for College Student Success (CCSS), Office of International Affairs, Student Health and Counseling Services, and Dean on Call.

We will continue to closely monitor related legal and legislative developments, and will provide updated information as it becomes available.