In 2012, the Undocumented Student Program at UC Berkeley became the first program of its kind in the United States. The USP is built upon decades of work by many people and organizations. With experience, ongoing student input, and increased funding we continue to evolve and expand its services.
How we got here: our timeline in progress
We would like to acknowledge that over the years there have been many important groups and activists at UC Berkeley who’ve worked to improve campus life for multicultural and undocumented students, and whose work ultimately got us to this point.
- On March 3, more than 20 students began a hunger strike to call attention to issues that affect multicultural student communities on campus and across the nation.
- In response to the hunger strike, University Chancellor Birgeneau launched a task force to study the issues and needs facing undocumented students and make recommendations for how to serve this population.
- A group of staff, faculty, and students from the UC Berkeley Immigrant Student Issues Coalition (ISIC) delivered recommendations to Chancellor Birgeneau regarding immigrant students on campus. Their input inspired the idea of an undocumented student program.
- The Chancellor-appointed task force submitted their recommendations, including the suggestion to create a staff position focused on improving the transition of undocumented students to the university, and helping students connect to campus resources.
- UC Berkeley launched the Undocumented Student Program, the first of its kind in the United States. The USP became part of UC Berkeley’s Center for Educational Equity and Excellence (CE3).
- UC Berkeley hired its first staff member, Meng L. So, as a half-time project coordinator.
- Elise Haas made a generous financial donation to establish the Robert D. Haas Dreamer Resource Center on campus, as well as to provide scholarship support to undocumented students.
- The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund made a $1 million grant to provide additional scholarship support.
- Staff and students, working with institutional support, created the UndocuAlly Training Program to educate the campus community on how to address the unique issues and needs of undocumented students in a supportive manner.
- President Barack Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memorandum, which allows for undocumented immigrants meeting specific criteria to receive a reprieve from deportation, as well as a work permit, for up to two years. At UC Berkeley, this ruling enabled students eligible for DACA to apply for jobs through the Work Study program. The USP provided financial support to help these students cover the DACA application costs.
- UndocuAlly conducts its first training.
- After meeting with undocumented students from each campus, UC President Janet Napolitano pledged $5 million in aid to fund programs to support undocumented students on all UC campuses.
- In September, SB 1210 enabled all University of California and California State University system campuses to provide loans from a $9.2 million state fund to students who do not qualify for federal or private loans because of their residency status. Collectively, these state laws established one of the most inclusive policy environments for undocumented youth pursuing four-year degrees in the United States.
- The USP partnered with the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), a clinic of Boalt Hall School of Law, to hire an immigration attorney who provides free legal support and resources on immigration law for undocumented students.
- In response to student requests for culturally-competent mental health services, the USP hired a licensed psychologist to provide mental health support and coordinate student wellness for undocumented students.
- As of the spring, 190 UC Berkeley staff have participated in UndocuAlly training.
- In late November, UC Berkeley pledged to vigorously protect undocumented students, saying it would refuse to assist federal immigration agents, turn over confidential records without court orders or supply information for any national registry based on race, national origin or religion.
In January, the UC Berkeley USP shared its development model online as a way to help other universities create similar undocumented student programs tailored to their campuses.
The USP expanded its partnership with EBCLC to hire a paralegal to support the Immigration Attorney with current and additional cases.
- The USP expanded its partnership with EBCLC and went from having one dedicated Immigration Attorney and one Paralegal to 2 Immigration Attorney’s and 2 Paralegals. This was based on capacity and student need.
- The USP began working with donors and campus stakeholders to plan for an updated and larger space for undocumented student support.
- In December, USP hired an additional Licensed Psychologist, to help meet the need for mental health support and expand mental health services.
- In February, the new Robert D. Haas Undocumented Community Resource Center (UCRC) opened. There was a Grand Opening Ceremony where USP, campus partners, donors, community members and students gathered to celebrate, story-tell and commemorate this moment.
- In the fall semester, USP launched its Inclusive Fellowship program, “Transcending Beyond Berkeley” and partners with different units/departments on campus so that 15 students have access to professional development opportunities, regardless of their immigration status.