"Know Your Rights"
There are no laws that prevent undocumented students from attending public colleges and universities in California. Under AB540 legislation and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA):
- students are not required to present an ID or Social Security Card for admission
- students are not required to show proof of legal U.S. residency for admission
- students' files are kept confidential and cannot be shared to third parties, including immigration officials, unless the student provides written consent to release the information
Assembly Bill 540 (AB540)
Assembly Bill 540 (AB540) is a law that was passed in 2001 that allows undocumented students who meet certain requirements to pay resident instead of non-resident tuition fees in California public colleges and universities.
To meet the requirements for AB540 status, students must:
- have attended a high school (public or private) in California for at least three years or graduated early from a California high school with the equivalent of three or more years of credit *
- have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam).
- file an affidavit with the college or university stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.
* If you graduated early from high school under this provision, you must also have attended California schools (elementary and secondary) for a cumulative total of three or more years.
To change your residency status to AB540, submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request to the Admissions and Records Office. You will be asked to attach either official or unofficial high school transcripts with the form. After the form has been submitted to Admissions, students will be notified of the results via email.
Important: Please note that an AB540 status does NOT establish legal residency for undocumented students. It is an exception from paying non-resident fees.
Senate Bill 150 (SB150)
Concurrently enrolled students (high school students enrolled in college classes) who are classified as non-resident students for fee/tuition purposes may be eligible for the SB150 waiver of non-resident fees while still in high school. Students must be part-time (enrolled in 11 units or less) who currently reside in California and are attending high school in California. Students wishing to take advantage of this exemption should complete a Residency Determination or Appeal and attach a copy of high school transcripts showing current enrollment. Forms and attachments should be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office.
Resources for Interactions w/ Immigration Officers
(via UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program)
- You have the right to remain silent and you can refuse to speak to an immigration officer
- You should carry a know your rights card and show that to immigration
- You should not open the door for unknown parties or law enforcement or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Most federal agents do not carry a warrant.
- If you are unclear as to who is at the door, ask for warrant and if they don’t have warrant, you do not have to let them in.
- Do not be duped into opening the door simply because the agent is looking for someone who does not reside at the address or if the agent asks you to come outside.
- You have a right to lawyer and you should ask to only speak to your lawyer
- You should not sign anything given to you by an immigration officer, without speaking to an attorney
- You should always carry any valid immigration documentation for US, if you have lawful status such as a student visa, or a green card
- You should not carry foreign documentation unless that is your only form of identification:
- If individual’s only form of ID is foreign documentation, individual needs to speak to attorney to weigh pros/cons of carrying sole form of ID vs. not carrying anything and this is case specific.
- As an immigrant, you should:
- Create safety plan and keep immigration documents together
- Report and document raids and arrests
ACLU: What to Do If Immigration Agents are at Your Door
United We Dream: Know Your Rights; Protect Yourself Against Immigration Raids
Know Your Rights info: https://www.ilrc.org/red-cards
Safety Planning: http://michiganimmigrant.org/sites/default/files/Familyemergency.pdf