We Support Undocumented Students!
Scroll down for upcoming events – including Undocumented Student Action Week – along with campus resources, updates on DACA and free legal services available to you, plus undocumented student videos and more!
Free Immigration Services – Filing Fees Also CoveredFind Your Ally provides free immigration legal services and case support for California community college students, staff and faculty members. This includes covering your DACA and naturalization filing fees!
(HEFAS has moved! They're now located in the East Cottage, near the Flint Garage.)
Reaffirming Our Committment
De Anza College is dedicated to providing education and a safe environment for all students, regardless of their immigration status. In a time of uncertainty and concern about federal government policy, De Anza is reaffirming its commitment to treat all students with equity and respect.
While a federal judge ruled on Sept. 13, 2023, that the DACA program doesn't comply with federal law, the ruling allows current DACA recipients to maintain their current rights and to renew their status. President Joe Biden's administration has promised to continue the legal fight for DACA, which may ultimately go before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The presidents of De Anza and Foothill colleges said in a joint statement that DACA and undocument students are still eligible and welcome to attend both colleges.
"We want to reassure you that despite a federal judge's disheartening ruling last week that again found the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to be unlawful, Foothill College and De Anza College continue to welcome current and potential undocumented and DACA students," said the statement by Lloyd A. Holmes, president at De Anza; Kristina Whalen, president at Foothill; and Lee D. Lambert, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.
- Read the joint statement issued Sept. 16, 2023
- Read an earlier statement of support issued Oct. 6, 2022
Oct. 16-20, 2023:
Undocumented Student Action Week
Community colleges around the state are planning activities this week in support of undocumented students and families. Below is a list of events at De Anza and nearby.
You can also check out a list of online webinars sponsored by the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office.
Monday, Oct. 16: Have Fun + Learn About HEFAS
Learn all about Higher Education for AB 540 Students (HEFAS), the peer resource center for undocumented students at De Anza.
- 10 a.m.-noon: Tabling in the Main Quad
- 3-5 p.m.: Open house in the East Cottage
Wednesday, Oct. 18: UndocuArt – You Belong Here
Everyone's invited to help decorate wooden butterflies that will be part of the "Facing Home" exhibition at the Euphrat Museum this fall. We'll be creating art to honor those who have passed, and to celebrate the who, what and where that helps you feel a sense of refuge.
- 2:30-5 p.m. in the HEFAS Center (East Cottage)
- Please RSVP if you'd like to attend
Thursday, Oct. 19: UndocuQueer Art – Making and Belonging
This is another opportunity to help decorate wooden butterflies that will be part of the "Facing Home" exhibition at the Euphrat Museum this fall. We'll be creating art to honor the parts of us that got us to where we are, along with things we need to let go.
- Noon-2 p.m. in the Pride Center (LC 138)
- Please RSVP if you'd like to attend
Friday, Oct. 20: UndocuCon – Building a Brighter Future
This one-day event will celebrate the Bay Area undocumented community's diversity, resilience and strength, while highlighting resources available for undocumented college students, families and the community.
- 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Benson Center at Santa Clara Universikty
- Please RSVP if you'd like to attend
These events are co-sponsored by De Anza's Office of Equity, Pride Center and Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA), as well as Foothill College and the California Community Colleges Region 4 Undoculiaison Network.
Look for more events throughout the year on these sites:
HEFAS (Higher Education for AB 540 Students)
HEFAS provides peer support and resources to reduce financial stress and help create a safe learning environment for fellow undocumented students. Visit the HEFAS website or drop by the HEFAS Center in the East Cottage (near the Flint Garage).
FREE Legal Assistance
You can now get free legal advice on immigration matters, through a program offered by HEFAS in partnership with the Immigration Institute of the Bay Area and the Foundation for California Community Colleges. Visit the HEFAS website to learn more.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
The California Dream Act allows undocumented students to apply for and receive state financial aid. More information is available from De Anza's Financial Aid Office and the California Student Aid Commission.
Prior to the ruling on Sept. 13, 2023, a federal appeals court panel had also agreed with a lower court judge that the DACA program is unlawful. But the panel's ruling, issued on Oct. 5, 2022, allows current DACA recipients to maintain their current rights and renew their status. President Joe Biden's administration has promised to continue the legal fight for DACA, which may ultimately go before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The earlier ruling by a federal judge, issued in July 2021, did not change the status of current DACA recipients. That judge also barred federal officials from taking any immigration, deportation or criminal action against DACA recipients.
Previously, the Trump Administration had announced plans to end the DACA program. But in November 2018, a federal appeals court sided with DACA supporters and upheld an order that blocks the government from deporting DACA participants. While the case remains in the courts, Congress could also step in with new legislation.
If your DACA status has expired, you may still be eligible to file for renewal under the federal court order. However, some immigration experts recommend that individuals should seek legal advice before filing an application.
Legal Services Available
- Find Your Ally provides free immigration legal services and case support for California community college students, staff and faculty members.
- Immigration Institute of the Bay Area offers free consultations and legal services to community college students. Call them at 925.237.8581 ext. 20 or use their online system to schedule a meeting.
- SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network). offers free consultations and workshops for immigrants. Visit their website at sirenimmigrants.org or call 408.453.3003 for the latest information on dates and how to sign up.
These groups have more information about applying to renew DACA status
Important Points To Remember
- If you are already enrolled in DACA, your work permit and protection from deportation will remain in effect until they were scheduled to expire – generally two years after you enrolled.
- DACA is a federal program and any legal challenges to DACA do not affect your eligibility to attend De Anza or any community college in California.
- Legal challenges to DACA also do not affect your ability to qualify under AB 540 for exemption from non-resident tuition, or to apply for state financial aid under the California Dream Act.
More FAQs, Advice and Referrals
- The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has more information about your legal rights if you’re stopped or questioned and special information for LGBTQ immigrants. The center also has a general resources page and a handbook for immigrant youth.
- If you need specific legal advice on immigration matters, here's a referral list for legal services from Santa Clara County's Office of Immigrant Relations.
- And if you're feeling stressed and want to talk with someone, you can contact or visit the Mental Health and Wellness Center at De Anza, or use the free online TimelyCare service.
- Check out My Undocumented Life, a blog with helpful tips and stories about navigating the educational system – including the admissions process, DACA, financial aid and more – written by current and former undocumented students.
Know Your Rights!
Federal enforcement actions in recent years have fueled concern for many local residents. This underscores the importance of understanding your rights when confronted by authorities.The following organizations have more information available on their websites.
- The Rapid Response Network for Santa Clara County, coordinated by Sacred Heart Community Service, maintains a 24-hour telephone hotline at 408.294.1144 to report immigration enforcement activity and obtain support.
- The Immigrant Legal Resource Center provides up-to-date information about immigration law and policy issues.
- The Know Your Rights webpage maintained by the American Civil Liberties Union provides specific advice about what to do when confronted, questioned or arrested by immigration authorities.
Student Commencement Speaker: "This Country Was Built on Immigrants"
Manuel Alonzo Barrios, a member of De Anza's graduating class of 2019, shared his personal story with thousands of fellow graduates, relatives, friends and supporters during the 2019 commencement ceremony. He described the experience of coming to the United States at age 11, saying he often felt like "a small rock that was being pushed downstream by a rushing river."
"For me, the most significant challenge has been this little secret – the secret of over 11 million people in the U.S. – the secret of being undocumented in this country," said Barrios.
Barrios said he found support when he came to De Anza and became involved with HEFAS and other programs on campus.
"No longer did I have to keep hiding in the shadows," he said. "Best of all, I found my purpose and was inspired to continue to chase my dreams."
Barrios, who earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts at De Anza, plans to become a dentist and open a clinic that's also a resource center for underserved and immigrant families. His determination to succeed, along with his service as a student leader and mentor, was recognized when he was awarded the Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Award, which provides $20,000 to a De Anza student who transfers to the University of California, Santa Cruz.
"I will never forget how De Anza built for me, as well as for my fellow classmates, a small village. A village that treats you with respect that allows you to express yourself. A second family that is willing to support you no matter what, and that everywhere you go, you will always be welcome and treated with love and kindness," Barrios said.
Urging his fellow graduates to remember the sacrifices of their families and loved ones, Barrios drew applause when he added: "This country was built on immigrants, and at some point in their lives they came to this country following a dream, with empty hands filled with hopes." He continued:
"Remember that the weapon against ignorance is knowledge. To meet difficulties we must have courage, to face the improbable, we must have dignitity. To aspire for greater power we must love to serve and understand humanity. Learning is a process, not an event. If we think that learning will stop, once we walk this stage and get a degree, it is not true. We should never stop!"
De Anza Grad Earns "Immigrants Rising" Scholarship
Pancho Antonio knew hardship when he was growing up in the Mixteco-speaking indigenous community of Oaxaca, Mexico. At age 19, he made the difficult journey to the United States because he wanted to pursue higher education.
Pancho first enrolled in adult school in East San Jose, where he did so well that he was hired to teach English and math to adult students.
After coming to De Anza, he graduated with honors in 2017 and served as a student speaker at the Latinx Grad Ceremony. Pancho transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he is majoring in ethnic studies. He plans to become a professor specializing in indigenous cultures.
Immigrants Rising is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that helps undocumented students pursue education and career goals, so they can better support their families and communities. Pancho is one of eight college students who received a scholarship of up to $7,000 from the group in 2018. They are selected for academic excellence, financial need and community impact.
These videos were recorded with De Anza students in 2017. Captions are available in English and Spanish – click "CC" or "Settings" to select a language.
Manuel: "What's the future going to look like?"
Itzel: "People are afraid right now"
Brenda: "(At) De Anza ... you feel supported 110 percent"
Congratulations to Itzel and Brenda for earning $25,000 scholarships from TheDream.US !
Earlier Statements of Support
- Speaking at De Anza's 2019 graduation event, Interim President Christina G. Espinosa-Pieb told students and their families: "De Anza College stands with, and behind, our undocumented students!"
- Responding to a 2017 White House order barring immigrants from certain countries, De Anza College and then-President Brian Murphy pledged support to international students and emphasized the college's commitment to inclusion and equity.
- In an earlier message, President Murphy cited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s call for "vigorous and positive action" as he announced campus events to support undocumented students.
- President Murphy outlined the college's commitment to provide resources and assistance for all students.
- The Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a Resolution in Support of Undocumented Students and a Resolution in Support of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
- President Murphy shared his thoughts after the presidential election, reaffirming the college will provide sanctuary, safety and respect for all students.
- The Board of Governors for California Community Colleges adopted a resolution urging then-President Trump to preserve DACA and affirming that community colleges will remain safe and welcoming for all students regardless of their immigration status.
Previous Events on Campus
Undocumented Students Week of Action: Oct. 17-20, 2022
Community colleges throughout California hosted local events in support of undocumented students and their families.
Undocumented Student Action Week: Oct. 18-22, 2021
- Monday, Oct. 18: HEFAS Open House and Launch – Kick off the week by learning about the work of the HEFAS Center at De Anza.
- Tuesday, Oct. 19: Be Scared and Do It Anyway – Art and Fear – Create your own digital poster with artist Griselda Madrigal Lara!
- Wednesday, Oct. 20: Nurse Unseen – Documentary Filmmaker Michele Josue – Join a conversation with Emmy award-winning maker of a new film that highlights the challenges faced by Filipinx/a/o nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Thursday, Oct. 21: HEFAS Open Mic Night – Share your poems, spoken words, songs or art relating to the theme of "Going Back To Your Roots."
- Friday, Oct. 22: Unpacking the Fight for Citizenship with Denise Panaligan – Learn about the history of citizenship and how to create a new meaning for contemporary times.
Undocumented Students Action Week: Oct. 19-23, 2020
*Event sponsors include the California Community Colleges, Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, California Student Aid Commission, California Undocumented Higher Education Coalition, Foundation for California Community Colleges, Immigrants Rising and the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.
** Event sponsors include Higher Education for AB 540 Students (HEFAS),the Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education and the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA).
2019-20 Speakers and Events
Call to Action! Oct. 14-17, 2019
Community colleges across California set aside this week for activities to support undocumented students and to advocate for those facing uncertainty over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Activities at De Anza included
Call to Action Week event sponsors include Higher Education for AB 540 Students (HEFAS); Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA); Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education; Community College League of California; Asian Law Alliance; University of San Francisco and UndocuHustle.
2018-19 Speakers and Events
Luis Cortes Romero, Attorney and Dreamer: Oct. 24, 2018
Immigration attorney Luis Cortes Romero has a personal stake in the fight to defend Dreamers: He is one.
Cortes grew up undocumented after he was brought to the United States by his parents when he was a child. He went to community college and San José State University before earning his law degree. Now he assists immigrants and has sued the Trump Administration on behalf of DACA students.
Cortes Romero spoke about his own story during a campus visit on Oct. 24, 2018 and answered questions about current issues related to U.S. immigration law. He appeared at the invitation of Danny Acosta, assistant chief of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District Police, in support of undocumented students. Event sponsors include the Equity and Engagement Division, HEFAS (Higher Education for AB 540 Students) and the Office of Interim President Christina Espinosa-Pieb.
Undocumented Student Week of Action: Oct. 15-19, 2018
Students, faculty and staff at community colleges around California dedicated this week to advocate for undocumented students and call for a long-term resolution of the DACA issue. Here are some of the activities at De Anza.
Week of Action cosponsors include the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA) and the Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education, as well as the Asian Law Alliance, Community College League of California, PUSO and Sacred Heart Community Service.
2016-17 Speakers and Conferences
De Anza hosted several events in Winter and Spring 2017 that focused on civil rights and resources for immigrants.
The series started Jan. 31 with a talk by Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant who grew up in Silicon Valley, became a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founded Define American, a nonprofit media and culture group.
Later the same day, attorney Alison Kamhi from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center spoke about federal immigration policy under the Trump administration.
The ILRC's Kamhi returned to campus Feb. 8 for a practical workshop on legal rights and real-world scenarios for encounters with immigration officials.
Attorneys from the Asian Law Alliance visited the campus on two days, Feb. 13 and 27, to provide free consultations for undocumented students who had questions about their own circumstances or the immigration status of family members.
On May 5, 2017, HEFAS hosted its annual summit conference for students at De Anza and neighboring schools. The program was entitled "Build Bridges, Not Walls" and the featured speaker was Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca, creator of the DREAMer's Roadmap app. She is a former undocumented student who was named a Champion of Change at the White House in 2014.