DACA students and other interested persons have raised questions and seek guidance on matters ranging from financial aid to travel.

Enrollment and Financial Aid

1. Now that the Department of Homeland Security’s June 15, 2012 DACA memorandum has been rescinded, will DACA recipients be allowed to remain enrolled at Oberlin?

Yes. Oberlin’s practices of admitting all qualified students regardless of immigration status and meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students will not change. This position reflects Oberlin’s long-standing commitment to the importance of a diverse and inclusive educational community and to dismantling barriers to an Oberlin education.

2. If a DACA students’ work permit expires, will they be eligible for additional financial assistance?

Consistent with Oberlin’s past practice of adjusting financial awards when any student experiences an unexpected change of circumstance that impacts their ability to meet their financial obligations, DACA students who experience of a loss of financial resources should contact the Office of Financial Aid and request a review of their financial aid package.

Travel

1. Should DACA students with advance parole continue with plans for international travel or study abroad?

No. Neither undocumented students nor DACA students with advance parole should travel outside of the country for college-related activities. The uncertainty regarding your ability to re-enter the U.S. is too high in light of the different approach to immigration policies communicated by the current federal administration. The decision to leave the U.S. is highly personal and should only be made after consultation with trusted personal advisors and legal counsel.

2. Should undocumented and DACA students continue with plans for domestic travel?

There are no restrictions on anyone traveling within the U.S. or U.S. territories. We, however, understand that there have been reports of international and undocumented community members being delayed or detained by TSA officials. Undocumented students and their families should avoid air travel or other modes of travel where identification is routinely checked. Recent Department of Homeland Security memos and enforcement action indicate that the removal of undocumented individuals is a priority and there have been reports of DACA recipients being detained and removed. ICE will not exempt any classes or categories of removal foreign nationals from potential enforcement. Undocumented individuals are strongly encouraged to consult with an immigration attorney before using commercial services for domestic travel.

3. In light of the cautions regarding travel, what should undocumented and DACA students do regarding winter term requirements?

The winter term office is prepared to work with students to identify local opportunities for undocumented and DACA students. All students are encouraged to begin planning for their winter term experience early. Additionally, the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) will administer two opportunities for Winter Term funding: the 1835 Fund for Africana students and the Oberlin Latinx Alumni Association fund for Latinx students.

Legal Services

Will Oberlin College provide legal services to undocumented and DACA students?

No. Oberlin College does not provide personal legal advice to any faculty, staff, or student. The Office of the Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary only provides legal advice to the college and its agents working on its behalf. The MRC is the designated office to connect undocumented and DACA students to community and legal resources designed to serve the particular needs of this population. It is in the best interest that members of this vulnerable population be advised by immigration legal experts who can provide attorney-client privileged consultation to meet the unique needs of individual community members. The MRC has compiled the following list of legal resources. We strongly recommend that you consult with a reputable licensed immigration lawyer of your choice before making any decisions that could impact your immigration status. We have prepared this list of resources to assist you in identifying legal counsel that can assist you with your legal needs. We do not endorse or recommend any particular service provider but offer this information as a general resource.

Ohio Resources

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (Toledo)

525 Jefferson Ave, Suite 300
Toledo, OH 43604
(419) 255-0814
www.ablelaw.org
immigration@ablelaw.org

Asian Services in Action, Inc.

3631 Perkins Ave, Suite 2A-W
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 881-0330 ext. 214
www.asiaohio.org
bwatts@asiaohio.org

Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland

Immigration Legal Services
7800 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 939-3769
www.ccdocle.org/program/immigration-legal-services
cgill@ccdocle.org

Centro San Jose El Trabajador--Immigrant Worker Project

701 Walnut Ave N.E.
Canton, OH 44702
(330) 454-2220
iwpohio.org/english_version/program.htm
iwp-ohio@juno.com

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

1223 W. 6th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 687-1900
www.lasclev.org

Safety and Security

1. What should you do if law enforcement engages you or others you are with regarding your or their immigration status?

Oberlin College is not in a position to provide legal advice tailored to specific individual needs. Several well-known national organizations that are experts in federal immigration policies and practices have developed resource material that many find useful.

  1. The ACLU
    Website: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/what-do-if-youre-stopped-police-immigration-agents-or-fbi
  2. The National Immigration Law Center
    Website: https://www.nilc.org/get-involved/community-education-resources/know-your-rights/
  3. United We Dream
    Website: https://unitedwedream.org/thank-deportation-defense-card-handy-phone/
  4. Immigrant Legal Resource Center
    Website: https://www.ilrc.org
     
2. Are undocumented and DACA students at risk if they contact Safety & Security for assistance?

No. We strongly encourage anyone who is a victim of a crime or who needs security assistance to contact Safety & Security. Safety & Security’s primary role is to protect and serve all faculty, staff, and students regardless of immigration status.  Safety & Security officers are not charged with enforcing federal immigration law and do not make inquiries into individual citizenship status. Formal requests by other law enforcement agencies are first reviewed by the Director of Safety & Security in consultation with the General Counsel and Security to ensure that the privacy interests of campus community members are fully protected.

3. I’ve heard that the City of Oberlin is a “sanctuary city.” Is that true?

The term “sanctuary city” has no clear and consistent legal definition.  The City of Oberlin passed a resolution in January 2009 (RO8-14 CMS) and another in March 2017 (R17-04 CMS) affirming, in part, its “commitment to civil rights and equal access to City services, including police and fire protection services without regard to citizenship or immigration status.” 

4. What is the protocol if ICE or CBP comes on campus?

The Oberlin campus is an open campus that is bounded by state highways. Therefore, the presence of marked ICE or CBP vehicles near campus should not be in itself a cause for alarm.  If you are approached by any law enforcement agency, respectfully comply with any lawful requests and direct the officer or agent to Safety & Security.

Climate and Support

1. Are there professional staff in the counseling center who are trained to meet the specific needs of undocumented and DACA students?

Yes, staff in the Counseling Center have attended UndocuAlly trainings and have formed a close partnership with staff in the Multicultural Resource Center and Obies for Undocumented Inclusion.

2. What should you do if an Oberlin faculty, staff, or student asks you if you are undocumented or have DACA status?

You do not have to answer questions regarding your immigration status. It is your choice as to whether or to whom you disclose your immigration status.

3. What should I do if I feel threatened or harassed because I am or am perceived to be undocumented or DACAmented?

Immediately report all concerns of discrimination or harassment to the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion or the MRC. In addition, there are several places on campus that may provide support services if you feel threatened or harassed because of your status and/or identity, including but not exclusive to:

  • Lewis House
    68 S. Professor Street
  • Multicultural Resource Center
    187 Professor Street
  • International Student Resource Center
    137 W. Lorain Street (Wilder 208)
4. What are some strategies that allies might explore in support of undocumented and DACA members of campus communities?
  • Connect on a personal level.
    Impacted community members want to know that you see them and that you understand the distress they are experiencing. Expressions of true empathy, care, and concern matter.
  • Promote consistent messaging.
    Coordinated, consistent, and centralized communications regarding immigration issues is important to serving our undocumented community members well. Direct general questions regarding undocumented and DACA issues to the MRC which will provide triage services. All media requests should be forwarded to the Director of Media Relations. If you share personal narratives of impacted community members, please be mindful not to identify individuals without their permission.
  • Manage confidential and sensitive student data with the utmost care.
    Please note that student data, including citizenship and visa status, is highly sensitive and the college is committed to protecting confidential and sensitive data to the fullest extent of the law. These data must be handled with the utmost care.
  • Engage in responsible “allyship”.
    The instability that undocumented students, DACAmented students and their families face daily deserves our respect and sensitivity. Please be mindful that your engagement in social media or other public fora may inadvertently create additional risks for those who you want to support. Avoid sharing personal narratives or photographs of impacted community members without their permission.
  • Engage in responsible public protest activity.
    Public service and civic engagement are hallmarks of Obie tradition. Anxiety on the part of undocumented and DACA students about real or perceived repercussions for engaging in protest activities is understandable. All students—including international, undocumented, and DACA students—may engage in speech, protest, and advocacy about issues important to them, as long as they do so lawfully and in accord with college policies. Yet, these are also times of some uncertainty and some aspects of enforcement are outside the college’s control. Students therefore are encouraged to use good judgment. Division of Student Life professionals are experienced in helping students plan effective on-campus advocacy events such as rallies, marches, teach-ins, etc.
  • Engage in responsible individual advocacy.
    Faculty and staff may not speak on behalf of the college or give the impression that they are doing so. Accordingly, those who are signing petitions relating to political matters should consider whether it is necessary to include their college affiliation/title, given that they are signing in their personal capacities. We recommend that you use personal email accounts when possible. If you decide to use your college titles/affiliations, or if the petition requires you to do so (see, e.g., https://notoimmigrationban.com/sign.html), you must be clear that you are referencing the college for identification purposes only. This is especially important where the petition relates to candidate elections or ballot proposals.
  • Refer all law enforcement requests to Safety & Security or the General Counsel and Secretary.
    All law enforcement search warrants, subpoenas, requests for background or security checks, should be forwarded to the Office of the Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary – secretary.office@oberlin.edu or 5-8401. If you are concerned about the presence of unfamiliar law enforcement officer presence on campus, notify Safety & Security by calling 5-8911.