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(1) Maintain respect.
Being undocumented is an immense burden and psychological stress factor – an undocumented individual and their family are at constant risk of being expelled from their home country. Being undocumented means not having access to many state or federal resources that everybody else may take for granted. Be mindful of your questions and keep in mind that asking about one’s immigration status can be very intrusive and threatening.
(2) Inform yourself.
There are many ways to learn about the challenges that undocumented students face on and off campus – you can look through our web-based resources to learn more, attend an Undocupeers training, or ask a student who has been open to you about their immigration status.
(3) Recognize the barriers to education.
Only 5-10% of undocumented youth ever enroll in college – in comparison, the overall percentage of students enrolling in college in the fall immediately after high school was nearly 70% in 2014 (NCES, 2015). In part, this is because no federal or state financial aid or loans are available for undocumented students in Colorado, and even private loans are almost impossible to obtain. You can be an effective ally to undocumented students by openly addressing the need to make higher education equally accessible for all.
(4) Show your support.
A simple sign in your office – such as the one available on this page – can show an undocumented student that they are in a safe space. Also, when reviewing on- and off-campus support programs and organizations, be sure to include groups and events that serve the specific needs of undocumented individuals. (Look through this page for a sample of such organizations.)
The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration & Customs Enforcement frequently conduct raids – with or without clear justification – that put communities at risk, spread fear, and disrupt families. The best response if you believe you might be witnessing a raid is to notify and work with the Colorado Rapid Response Network.
Call the Colorado Rapid Response Network 1-844-864-8341 (1-844-UNITE-41) to report any immigration enforcement activity or someone who has been detained.
MSU Denver maintains a robust donation network that provides funding for scholarships, social and cultural programming, and direct aid such as DACA renewal or emergency grants. All of those donation options can be accessed here: