Students with Undocumented-DACA Status

At the Career Center, we support and value the strengths of students with undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

We also acknowledge that undocumented students face unique challenges in their career development. We are here to offer guidance, support, and strategies as you progress at Suffolk University. We are aware that there is a significant difference between students who have DACA status and those who don’t. Some of the resources below are relevant to both groups of students and alums. 

Get Connected

As you build your career competencies for the workforce, we encourage you to get connected in the following ways:

Your Job or Internship Search

How should you respond when asked, “Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?”

The answer is yes if you have DACA status and you can proceed without disclosing additional information about your background.

Employers should not ask you about how you received your work permit. Visit the National Immigration Law Center’s website for more details on this process. Review the ITIN link if you did not apply for a Social Security number through DACA, so you can obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

What happens when you do not have DACA status but still hope to gain professional experience?

  • You can discuss with an employer the possibility of working as an independent contractor. Independent contractors often do the same type of work, and you can work for multiple clients instead of one employer. Examples of independent contractor jobs include tutors and child care providers.
  • As an independent contractor you can apply for an Independent Taxpayer Identification Number regardless of your immigration status. Read Life after College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) for more information (pages 29-35).

Have you considered starting your own business?

A limited liability company (LLC) is an option. An individual or group of people can form a LLC. Read Life after College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) for more information (pages 35-37).

What happens if you have to disclose your status?

First and foremost, it is your decision whether or not to share your status. We acknowledge that is confusing and stressful to decide when and with whom to share your status. It is important, however, to provide information that is true. The Career Center is here to support you. You may decide to share your status with an organization early in the hiring process or in an interview if you feel comfortable doing so, and to start a discussion about how to move forward in the process. It is important to consider who you would want to disclose to (sharing with a recruiter v. a supervisor) and in what manner (disclosing in a personal statement for graduate school v. in an interview). If you are unsure about whether and how to disclose your status, meet with your Career Communities coach. This person can support you during these uncomfortable situations.

Graduate School

Depending on your field, graduate school may be a logical next step after completing your bachelor’s degree. You can meet with us to discuss pursuing master’s or doctoral programs and to get help with the graduate school application process.

Resources

For more on how to get help from your school, watch Income and Career Options for Undocumented Students: How Colleges can Help (video) from TheDream.us. 

It can be helpful to connect with other students and alums—with or without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status—who have been through the hiring process and found opportunities. Explore national groups such as the UndocuUndergrads National Network, UndocuBlack  Network, United we Dream, and NAKASEC

To learn more about DACA eligibility and the application process, visit the Department of Homeland Security website

This employer guide on DACA has useful information on how to complete the required I-9 Form for Employment Eligibility. All employees must submit an acceptable document that establishes identity and employment authorization. DACA is item 4 on List A

An independent contractor can use an Independent Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which can be obtained regardless of immigration status. Read Life after College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Immigrants Rising for more information (pages 29-35). 

If you are interested in starting your own business, a limited liability company (LLC) may be something to consider. An LLC is composed of an individual or a group of people who are both workers and owners of a business. Read Life after College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Immigrants Rising for more information (pages 35-37). 

Many graduate schools offer funding to help with the cost of tuition. Some financial assistance comes in the form of research or teaching assistantships. Some programs also offer scholarships for incoming students. This blog from My (Un)Documented Life has tips on applying to graduate school as an undocumented student. Also check out the following resources for graduate scholarships: 

The DREAM Bar Association (DBA) is a nonprofit legal organization led by undocumented law students and practitioners that provides a network for undocumented immigrants interested in pursuing a career in law. 

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) offers a fee waiver for the LSAT for candidates who are unable to pay for the test. If you have DACA status or have applied for it, you can apply for the fee waiver. 

Pre-Health Dreamers (PHD) is a national network that provides support to undocumented students who are pursuing careers in health and science. You’ll find much more, including a list of internships available to undocumented students, online.

The Latino Medical Student Association has a scholarship for pre-medical students interested in advancing healthcare and education for Latino and underserved communities. Students are eligible to apply regardless of immigration status. 

Professional Associations

Networks

https://unitedwedream.org/about/our-missions-goals/

http://undocublack.org/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/UndocuUndergrads/

http://theniya.org/

https://www.raise-nyc.org/new-page

Scholarships

My (Un)Documented Life’s list of scholarships open to undocumented students

Paul and Daisy Soros Graduate Fellowship 2021

Additional Resources

Immigrants Rising (formerly known as Educators for Fair Consideration) provides robust resources for undocumented youth and educators in order to empower students to reach their goals. In addition to their Life After College Guide (PDF), they have a number of educational materials for various audiences.

DACA-Friendly Employers This list taken from a survey by University of Pennsylvania and University of California spotlights organizations that have noted they are interested in hiring DACA students

http://www.thedream.us/

https://institute.coop/