Undocumented & DACA Students

The pursuit of jobs, internships, and post-grad opportunities for undocumented and DACAmented students can be a stressful process if you're not sure where to look. With the understanding that the process can be overwhelming, the Career Center has collaborated with the SSU DREAM Center to assure you that we can provide you with resources you need to succeed. Career advising is collaborative and confidential, regardless of immigration status. The Career Center staff, along with the Sonoma State University community, are here to offer support to undocumented students navigating the career search.

Below, you will find information on resources for undocumented and DACA students both on-campus and off-campus. The information on this page is not exhaustive, so please use this as a starting point in your search. If there are any resources you think would be useful to add to this page, or if you have any questions, please contact careercenter@sonoma.edu.

 

DACA & Employment

Undocumented students approved for DACA and who have an Employment Authorization Document should be eligible for most, if not all, jobs. Employers cannot discriminate based on the term of the employment authorization. However, not all employers understand the nuisances of DACA. You do not have to disclose your status at any point in the employment process. The SSU DREAM Center works with two on-site lawyers, free of cost for all students. For more information, contact dreamcenter@sonoma.edu.

 

Funding through Sonoma State Fellowships & Scholarships that support DACA/Undocu-students 

  1. The Catalyst Fund Student Leadership Fellowship: This program supports undocumented students in developing their voice, visibility, and knowledge to foster greater undocumented student engagement and collaboration on campus and throughout the state. Fellows will each receive a stipend for active participation. 
  2. DREAM Center ASPIRE Fellowship: A leadership and professional development opportunity for students interested in immigration-related issues, including those faced by undocumented students. 

SSU University Scholarship Program Application period begins November 1st of each year. Applications are submitted online and the entire package must be submitted by February 3rd. Students must re-apply every year. Awards will be announced by May. Click here to begin the application process. For more information, contact dreamcenter@sonoma.edu.
 

Off-Campus Scholarships and Opportunities

*Scholarship requirements and deadlines often change from year to year. Please double-check all information listed with the scholarship directly.

 

Post-Undergrad Opportunities

Pre-Health and Pre-Med

Law School

Graduate School

 

Entrepreneurship

If working as a lawful employee is not an option for you, there are multiple ways to work for yourself (entrepreneurship). You may establish a formal business such as an LLC, Sole proprietor, or work as an independent contractor (also called consulting or freelancing). All individuals regardless of immigration status are able to earn a living as independent contractors using an ITIN or SSN using a 1099 form. You may choose to identify a business entity and hire employees under an LLC, a Sole Proprietor, or a C-corporation using an EIN. (An ITIN may be used to obtain an EIN).

ITINs allow individuals ineligible for an SSN to: 

  • Report their earnings to the IRS
  • Open interest-bearing bank accounts with certain banks
  • Conduct business in the U.S.

For more information about entrepreneurship, click here.

 

Employment Opportunities 

  • Handshake: SSU's job search board where students can apply to various job and internship opportunities both on and off-campus. Undocu/DACA-friendly. 
  • Parker Dewey: Paid micro-internships (no SSN required) working directly with an entrepreneur or supporting a large enterprise.
  • Internship/Fellowship Resource Sheet

 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Can I get paid for an internship? Yes, there are many internships that offer stipends or awards at the end of an internship that does not require an SSN. However, there are also nonpaid internships are a great way to gain meaningful work experience without being considered an employee.

How are internships and freelance work (independent contracting) different? Independent contractors usually offer their services to the general public and are people who are in an independent trade, business, or profession. Interns will generally receive guidance and direction from the employer, including daily job duties, training, and coaching

I do not have the authorization to work in the U.S., but I have been working anyway. What do I do if I have been harassed or discriminated against at work? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the governmental agency that handles discrimination cases, undocumented workers are, with a few exceptions, entitled to the same protections and relief as documented workers under federal anti-discrimination statutes.

If you are an undocumented worker who has been harassed or discriminated against, you should follow the same steps as other workers to file a discrimination complaint. EEOC will not, on its own initiative, inquire into a worker's immigration status, nor consider an individual's immigration status when determining whether a discrimination charge has merit. 

Can my employer have me deported for reporting harassment or discrimination? If your employer appears to have acquired information about your unauthorized status after you complained of discrimination, the government agency investigating your complaint will also attempt to determine whether your employer's purpose in finding out information about your immigration status was to retaliate against you.

Any person facing deportation, whether as a result of incidents occurring at work or not, should consult immediately with a lawyer who specializes in immigration law, as this is a serious and complex legal issue beyond the scope of the information provided by this website.