Central Washington University stands with and supports undocumented students. All students are welcome at Central regardless of immigration status.
This guide is a compilation of campus and community resources; as a collective effort, we recognize there may be additional information or revisions. Is something out of date? Let us know at Diversity@cwu.edu
What does “Undocumented” mean?
The term ‘undocumented’ refers to people who are not U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States, who do not hold a current visa to reside in the U.S. and who have not been approved for legal residency in the U.S.
What is DACA?
DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” DACA is a program, that protects eligible applicants from deportation and gives them work authorization for a renewal period of 2 years. It is important to note that DACA provides lawful presence, but it does not provide lawful status. DACA is a program fought for and won by undocumented immigrants.
Some individuals may use the term “DACA-mented” which is used by undocumented individuals who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA-mented is sometimes used to navigate away from the negative connotations given to terms such as non-U.S. citizen and so forth.
What word should I use?
Language is contextual and often depends on the individual, their experience, and social pressures. Context matters, but in any instance, we disavow referring to people as illegal, as this is dehumanizing. No person or their body is illegal.
Additional considerations include “Dreamer” which refers to a young person who qualifies for the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Like DACA and the term “DACA-mented,” these terms politicize status and not everyone will qualify or be able to be included. Use the term that resonates with you. If you are an ally, mirror the language that those who identify use to honor their experience.
Who is undocumented?
According to the Pew Hispanic Center and 21 Progress, it is estimated that approximately 230,000 undocumented immigrants reside in Washington State with approximately 17,000 DACA recipients. Contrary to popular political conversations, undocumented immigrants are not exclusively from Mexico or Central and South America. According to the Pew Research Center in 2017, immigrants from Mexico represent less than half of the undocumented population for the first time since 1990.
Definitions from United We Dream’s HeretoStay Toolkit for Educators
#HeretoStay Toolkit for Educators
CWU-Specific Resources for Students
Diversity and Equity Center (DEC)
The Diversity and Equity Center can assist you with navigating campus concerns or personal issues related to your needs or experiences as an undocumented student. Our staff will not share information about your status and will help connect you to resources on and off campus.
CrimsonCats is a student club who supports and guides DACAmented/Undocumented college students to find resources for the betterment, retention and graduation of students. Email to find out more information regarding club meeting times and club resources.
The Financial Aid office can assist you with understanding and processing the WASFA in addition to scholarship opportunities.
The WASFA is a state financial aid program available to students who aren’t eligible for financial aid (FAFSA) because of immigration status. Financial Aid can provide support with understanding and processing WAFSA as well as scholarship opportunities.
Student Counseling Services
Corner of 11th Ave & Poplar Street
(509) 963-1391 - After Hours: (800) 273-TALK (8255)
The Counseling Clinic is prepared to respond to undocumented students’ needs and offers counseling services in Spanish and Bulgarian. Counseling is free of cost for CWU students.
Student Health Services
Corner of 11th Ave & Poplar Street
(509) 963-1881 - Emergency: 911
Student Health Services does not require insurance to access medical care! CWU students without insurance will be charged $50 for the first appointment which can be charged to your student account. Follow up appointments are available at no charge. Additional fees may apply for care such as prescriptions, immunizations, but most are available at “cost” meaning this will likely be the most cost-effective model. Students are encouraged to ask questions about what services could incur additional fees.
Dean of Student Success
The Dean of Student Success Office has emergency funding available on a case-by-case basis regardless of documentation status. If you are in an emergency financial situation, contact the Dean of Student Success Office to meet with a staff member.
CWU PUSH Pantry
Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) connects students in need of basic resources, particularly those experiencing food insecurity. PUSH pantries are in buildings across campus in addition to being able to request food assistance on the website.
Washington State has a Charity Care Law that requires hospitals to provide medical care for free or at reduced cost if the patient demonstrates that they are not able to pay for services that were provided at the hospital. If you do need to go to the hospital, remember to ask about their charity care program.
Community Health of Central Washington (CHCW)
Local Ellensburg healthcare facility that provides comprehensive care; fee discount available by application which can be found under the “Resources” tab and is based on annual family income. Services include discounted dental care in addition to behavioral health services. Medications can be filled at their pharmacy and are offered at cost or discount for patients of CHCW.
Local Ellensburg office that offers care focusing on sexual and reproductive health in addition to preventative care. Sliding fee options are available, be sure to a
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic has various locations throughout Yakima Valley. Fee discount available by application which can be found out by clicking on “patient information” and scrolling down to “qualifying for assistance.” Services include discounted dental care in addition to behavioral health services. Medications can be filled at their pharmacy if ordered by in-clinic provider.
Union Gospel Mission Free Clinic - Yakima
Yakima-based clinic that provides free medical and dental care.
APOYO Food Bank
Ellensburg-based food bank that provides year-round outreach for individuals and families, providing food, basic need services, translation and advocacy services. No personal data is collected during visits and there is no limit on the amount of times you can attend.
First United Methodist
Ellensburg First United Methodist Church sanctuary space and provides support to anyone in need, through work with Central Washington University Justice for Our Neighbors. EUMC has access to several resources to assist undocumented families in their journey towards citizenship. The church is committed to the pursuit of justice and equality locally and globally.
Central Washington Justice for our Neighbors (CWJFON)
Central Washington Justice for Our Neighbors (CWJFON) is a non-profit organization that offers free legal advice and representation to individuals and families that cannot afford a private attorney. CWJFON makes this determination by using the yearly-issued Federal Poverty Guidelines and provides support to those whose household incomes are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Immigration legal services are offered on the following topics: removal defense, DACA, asylum, citizenship, survivors of domestic violence and other crimes, crimmigation (provide advice on the ramifications of criminal charges on their current or potential immigration status.
The DEC hosts CWJFON Attorney Max Olarsch throughout the academic year so that you don’t have to leave campus to consult or meet with Max. Check the DEC’s social media for more information.
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Provides consultation and legal support for immigrants including asylum, family services, children & youth, citizenship, DACA, detention & deportation defense.
Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs
Seattle-based: the mission of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs is to improve the lives of Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities by engaging them in decisions about the City of Seattle’s future and improving the City’s programs and services to meet the needs of all constituents. Values inclusion and equity. City employees do not ask about citizenship status and serve all residents regardless of immigration status. Provides citizenship assistance, ESL courses, employment assistance, expanded Legal Defense Network, Immigrant Family Institute, City-wide Language Access as well as City-wide Ethnic Media Programs.
OneAmerica® is the largest immigrant and refugee advocacy organization in Washington State, organizing with and advocating for diverse communities including Latinx, African, and Asian. Initially named Hate Free Zone, OneAmerica was founded immediately after September 11, 2001 to address the backlash, hate crimes, and discrimination against immigrant communities of color, primarily Muslims, Arab Americans, East Africans, and South Asian.
Beyond HB 1079
Beyond HB 1079 is a yearly conference based in Washington State that provides awareness, to educate our community of legislation, to provide beneficial resources and to empower students. Check out their Facebook page that provides updates on legal actions impacting the community from Washington State and federal government.
Free national mobile app that helps undocumented students find scholarships.
United We Dream
Immigrant youth-led community in the country dedicated to helping undocumented youth find their voice, organize and develop campaigns to fight for justice and dignity for all people.
My Undocumented Life
My Undocumented Life provides up-to-date information and resources to undocumented students including scholarship opportunities, strategies for navigating education, news on immigration.
Immigrants rising empowers undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional and policy transformation. Includes scholarship and fellowship information.
Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America
Latino legal civil rights organization providing information on scholarships, leadership programs and up-to-date information about court cases, immigrant rights and education.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system within the United States
WA Immigrant Solidarity Network
WAISN is the largest immigrant-led coalition in Washington. Made up of over 100 organizational members, with backgrounds and specialization in law, education, policy, direct services, labor, and more
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Comprehensive “Know your Immigrant’s Rights” page sorted by scenario and available in English and Spanish.
Series of 26 videos in English and Spanish to Know your Rights covering topics such as protesting, airports and ports of entry, border agents searching devices, what to do if stopped, if ICE comes to your door and more.