Laws about immigration are always changing. And there are differences between state and federal immigration laws.

That’s why it’s important to understand your rights as an undocumented citizen in Colorado in 2018.

“Dreamers” are a name for undocumented children who were illegally brought to the US by their parents. This name comes from the Dream Act.

The Dream Act is a bill that was meant to give legal status to undocumented children brought to the US. This bill was never passed into law, but the name stuck.

As a Dreamer America is likely the only home you’ve ever known. But as an undocumented resident, you’re prevented from enjoying the same rights as legal citizens.

DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, helps to provide you with certain rights as an undocumented citizen.

This program can protect you from deportation (as long as you haven’t committed a crime). DACA can help you get a job, a driver’s license, go to college and more without fear of getting into trouble for your undocumented status.

To be eligible for DACA, you must’ve entered the United States before you turned 16 years old, and lived here since June 15, 2007. You must also not have a serious criminal record.

Changes to DACA in 2018

The laws around DACA can change with each new President.

Under the current White House, you can no longer submit a new application for DACA status. However, if you’ve had DACA status in the past, you can still apply for renewal.

But in 2018, this could change.

To make a long story short, President Trump attempted to end DACA for good. But a federal court challenged Trump and ordered that renewal applications can still be valid.

The Department of Justice then appealed this court order. In February 2018, the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case, leaving the case to the court of appeals.

This means eventually, the Trump Administration may be able to get rid of DACA sometime this year.

How to Renew Your DACA Status in 2018

You can apply to renew your DACA status if you haven’t been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor (or 3 or more lesser misdemeanors), and if you don’t pose a threat to public safety or national security.

You can submit your renewal application on the Dept. of Homeland Security’s website.

As long as you have DACA status, you have specific rights both federally and in the state of Colorado. Here are 7 things to know about your DACA rights in 2018:

1. You have the right to get a driver’s license

Colorado provides driver’s licenses to undocumented residents who have an Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN) and can provide proof of identity (from your home country) and residence. You must also pass any required driving exams as anyone else would.

You legally can’t be discriminated against if you try to get a driver’s license in Colorado.

If police or immigration officials attempt to use your license as proof of your undocumented status, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible, as you have a right to your driver’s license under current DACA rules.

It’s illegal to drive without car insurance, and you must follow all driving laws in Colorado and throughout America. Any crime committed as a DACA recipient could put your status into question.

Your license also can’t be used as evidence of your citizenship status.

Visit colorado.gov for more information on obtaining a license as a DACA recipient, with fact sheets in both English and Spanish.

2. You have the right to legally have a job

As a DACA recipient, you’ll receive a work permit, which allows you to legally secure a job in the United States.

An employer can’t ask you for any other documents than what is given through DACA (what is called Form I-9), and they can’t deny employment or fire you based on your immigration status.

You must give a Form I-9 to a new employer, though you don’t have to give any other information regarding your status. All your employer legally needs to know is that you have a valid work permit.

Also, you don’t need a driver’s license or a Social Security Number to get a job — only the work permit.

3. You have the right to enroll in college

As a DACA recipient, you have the right to enroll in college in the US. There’s no federal law against undocumented residents attending a university.

The education laws do vary from state to state, though. In Colorado, you can get in-state tuition, which is more affordable than full tuition.

To be eligible for in-state tuition in Colorado, you must have attended a public or private high school in the state for at least 3 years before graduating. You must also apply to an in-state public college within 12 months of graduating (or receiving a GED).

4. You can be deported if you commit a crime

While you have a number of rights as a Dreamer, you don’t have all the same rights as someone with full citizenship status.

You can be deported from the country if you commit a crime.

If you commit a crime, it’s not certain that you’ll be deported. However, DACA can’t protect you from deportation in this case.

Even if you aren’t deported, it’s more unlikely that your status will be approved when you apply for renewal with a criminal record.

If you are accused of a crime, you have the right under DACA to remain silent and to get an attorney. This is an important right to understand, as conviction could lead to deportation.

If you have a court appointment and don’t go, or if you break the rules of a probation, a warrant will be issued for your arrest and you could lose your DACA status. This loss of status makes it more likely that you could be deported.

5. You have the right to remain silent

If you have an encounter with police or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), you do have the right to remain silent.

This is especially important if you think you’re in danger of being found guilty of a crime (in which case you should immediately contact a lawyer), which could lead to deportation or denial of DACA renewal.

If you’re stopped in a car, you’re required to provide a driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. The officer doesn’t have a right to search your car without a warrant.

It’s important to know that if you have marijuana in your car or in your possession, you can be convicted of a crime, even in Colorado.

In Colorado, it’s only legal for full citizens to possess marijuana. DACA doesn’t give you the same right.

Consider carrying a Red Card to hand to police or ICE if you want to remain silent.

6. You have the right to deny entry

If a police officer or ICE comes to your home, you aren’t required to allow them entry unless they have a signed judicial warrant (an administrative warrant isn’t enough, see the difference between the two here).

If the police officer or ICE official says they have a judicial warrant, ask them first to see it before allowing them in (they can either slide it under the door or hold it up to door/window for you to see). Verify it’s signed before allowing them entry.

In the case that police or ICE officials don’t have a signed judicial warrant but try to come in, write down their vehicle license plate numbers and their badge numbers. Forced entry is illegal, and you’ll want to be able to report them in your defense.

7. You have the right to an attorney

You always have the right to an attorney. If you’re confronted by police and/or ICE officials and are worried about how this may affect your DACA status, you should remain silent and contact an attorney.

Don’t sign anything until you have an attorney to represent you.

Remember: the laws surrounding DACA can change. You can best protect yourself by renewing your status as soon as possible, following all state and federal laws, keeping yourself informed on your rights, and finally, by making use of all your rights.

Even if you do all that, though, you may still find yourself in a situation where you’re concerned about your rights and/or being deported.

If you need help fully understanding your rights, or if you or family members have been detained by ICE officials or police, contact the attorneys at Rogers & Moss >

Contact Rogers & Moss for your free, no-risk, consultation.