We Support Undocumented Students! 

Scroll down for campus resources, information about your legal rights and free legal services available to you, along with upcoming events, undocumented student videos and more!

Free Immigration Services – Filing Fees Also Covered

Find 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.)

You Belong HereUpcoming Events

Please check back for information about the next Undocumented Student Action Week in October.

Look for more events throughout the year on these sites:

Campus Resources

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.

Emergency Financial Assistance

If you’re facing a financial emergency, De Anza may be able to help. The Financial Aid Office can provide limited cash grants for students – including students with AB 540 status – who are struggling with hardship or an urgent expense that might interfere with attending school. Visit the Resources for Basic Needs website to learn more.

Legal Resources and Updates

Know Your Rights!

It's important to understand your rights when confronted by authorities.The following organizations have more information available on their websites.

Legal Assistance Is Available

DACA Updates

Despite judicial rulings against the DACA program, courts have issued orders that allow current DACA recipients to maintain their current rights and renew their status. 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.

  • 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.
  • These groups have more information about applying to renew DACA status

My Undocumented Life

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. 

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 Biden has promised to continue the legal fight for DACA, which may ultimately go before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

monarch butterfly

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.

Campus News

Student Commencement Speaker: "This Country Was Built on Immigrants"

Grad speaker Manny BArriosManuel 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 AntonioPancho 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.

students speaking at rally

De Anza Student Stories

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

Video Interview

Brian Murphy

Former De Anza President Brian Murphy, who retired in 2018, spoke about supporting undocumented students in a video and interview with My Undocumented Lifea blog developed by and for undocumented students.

  • 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 Student Action Week: Oct. 16-20, 2023

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.

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.

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.

Undocumented Students Week of Action: Oct. 17-20, 2022

Community colleges throughout California hosted local events in support of undocumented students and their families. h These De Anza events were organized by HEFAS, or Higher Education for AB 540 Students

Monday, Oct. 17: HEFAS Open House

  • 3- 5 p.m.
  • Stop by in person!
  • Have fun and learn about Higher Education for AB 540 Students (HEFAS). Stop by the new HEFAS Center in the East Cottage to meet the staff and interns for HEFAS and UndocuSTEM. Find out about resources available to you. 

Tuesday, Oct. 18: UndocuQueer + Know Your Rights 

UndocuQueer and Mental Health Day

  • 10:30-11:45 a.m. – Art Workshop in the HEFAS Center, East Cottage
      • Stop by in person!
      • Vision boards, journaling, earrings and bracelets!
  • Noon-1:30 p.m.Navigating Undocuqueerness and Mental Health Outside Capitalism
      • This workshop will be a Hybrid Event, it will be held at the HEFAS Center at the East Cottage and on Zoom –  
  • 2-4 p.m. – Art Workshop in the Pride Center, Library 136
      • Stop by in person!
      • Vision boards, journaling, earrings and bracelets, plus LGBTQ+ flag bracelets!
  • HEFAS and the Pride Center are joining forces for a day of art-making and workshops that will center on mental health and wellness, intersectional identities, and anti-capitalist self-care.  We will collectively learn through the process of telling the stories of undocumented LGBTQ+ communities, making space for folks to exist and create authentically, and finding healing through community care.

Know Your Rights and Other Immigration Options

  • Starts at 4 p.m.
  • This webinar will be held on Zoom –
  • Join this interactive webinar, hosted by the Immigration Institute of the Bay Area, to learn about your legal rights and immigration options. Participants will be able to ask questions anonymously and schedule a free consultation afterward. 

Wednesday, Oct. 19: Let's Talk Money and Navigating the Transfer Process

  • 3:30-5 p.m. 
  • This workshop will be held on Zoom – 
  • This workshop will explore ways to build financial stability as a first-generation community college student, regardless of your immigration status. It will be hosted by Dr. Ana Romero Morales, founder of Brewing Dinero, a social media platform that aims to increase financial knowledge in BIPOC and undocumented communities.

Thursday, Oct. 20: "Status Pending" Film Screening

  • 12:00-1:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.
  • This event will be held in the Foothill College Smithwick Theater, in collaboration with the Foothill Family Engagement institute
  • Join us for a screening of this short documentary, followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Priscilla Gonzalez.
  • "Status Pending" portrays an informal support group for first-generation, Mexican-American immigration law practitioners as they contend with constant attacks on immigrants and immigration law. Through their perspective, the viewer sees how changes in the law directly affect their clients and families.

monarch butterflies on blue background

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

Monday, Oct. 19

Yosimar Reyes: We Are More Than Tragic Stories

Yosmar ReyesIn the public imagination, undocumented people are viewed as people with no agency. What if we told stories of strength? 

Meet Yosimar Reyes, a nationally acclaimed undocumented American poet, public speaker and activist, who was born in Guerrero, Mexico and raised in East San José, California.

This keynote and writing workshop is aimed at exploring and uplifting the power of undocumented residents. Hosts include the De Anza Latinx Association (DALA), the Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education, and Higher Education for AB 540 Students (HEFAS).

Tuesday, Oct. 20

 Undocu-Leadership Opportunities * 

Hear directly from California community college undocumented and mixed status students as they discuss the advantages of joining a club on campus, attending and presenting at conference and how to find a mentor to help you succeed and achieve your professional goals.

Lingua Franca"Lingua Franca" Watch Party

The Jean Miller Resource Room is hosting a Netflix watch party for this dramatic film about an undocumented Filipina trans caregiver and her journey to secure a green card. The film’s director and star, Isabel Sandoval, is a trans immigrant.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

Jhett Tolentino"Lingua Franca" Discussion

JMRR faculty coordinator Chesa Caparas will lead a live discussion with Jhett Tolentino, co-producer of the film, "Lingua Franca."

What's Next After Community College? *

A panel of undocumented community college students will share their experiences transferring to a 4 year university. They will share how they were able to use their associate or certificate degree to advance their career or become an entrepreneur.  

Thursday, Oct. 22

Financial Hustle ** 

Join with De Anza staff members for a conversation in a safe space about money from financial aid to budgeting, banks and credit unions, car loans, credit and taxes. We believe having information that sets you up for financial success is an essential life skill. 

Undocu-Advocacy and Civic Engagement ** 

This workshop will feature legal representatives from the Immigration Institute of the Bay Area.

  • Time: 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Join via Zoom ID: 912 2387 0575

*Event sponsors include the California Community CollegesAcademic Senate for California Community CollegesCalifornia Student Aid CommissionCalifornia Undocumented Higher Education CoalitionFoundation for California Community CollegesImmigrants 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

Monday, Oct. 14

  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Main Quad
  • Register to vote and sign a postcard to send to legislators 

Tuesday, Oct 15

  • 1-3 p.m. in Campus Center Conference Rooms A & B
  • Info Session: Learn about children in ICE detention; donate to support them and their families

Wednesday, Oct. 16

  • 1:30-3 p.m. in Media and Learning Center (MLC) 103
  • UndocuHustle: Learn about becoming an undocumented entrepreneur

Thursday, Oct. 17

  • 12:30-2 p.m. in East Cottage (ECOT) 1
  • Info session: Know your rights! 

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

luis cortes romeroImmigration 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

hands holding postcardStudents, 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.

Monday, Oct. 15:

Get Out the Vote: Register to vote and sign a postcard urging Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for DACA students – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Main Quad

Tuesday, Oct. 16: 

Get Out the Vote: Register to vote and sign a postcard urging Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for DACA students, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Main Quad 

Rapid Response Network: Learn how to respond and protect families during immigration enforcement activities, through this training offered by Sacred Heart Community Service, 1:30-3:30 p.m., MLC 255 (second floor) 

Wednesday, Oct. 17:

On Immigration and Journalism: A discussion with Sonia Nazario, author of the Los Angeles Times series, “Enrique’s Journey,” about the experiences of Latin American child immigrants, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Campus Center Conference Rooms A&B. 

Thursday, Oct. 18:

Election Forum: The Millenial Vote, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Campus Center Conference Room B 

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.

Services at De Anza

  • HEFAS, or Higher Education for AB 540 Students, provides peer support and resources to reduce financial stress and help create a safe learning environment for fellow undocumented students. Visit the HEFAS Center in the East Cottage (near the Flint Garage).
  • Admissions and Records can help undocumented students qualify under AB 540 for exemption from out-of-state tuition.
  • Financial Aid has information on the California Dream Act, which lets AB 540 students qualify for state and privately funded financial aid at public colleges.
  • The Outreach Office can help answer questions from current and prospective De Anza students who are undocumented.
  • EOPS or Extended Opportunities Programs and Services, provides additional assistance for low-income and disadvantaged students.
  • Undocumented students are entitled to the same protection from sexual harassment and sexual discrimination that Title IX, a federal law, guarantees to all at De Anza.
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