The information a student shares with a college or university is protected by federal law. This information CANNOT be shared with anyone, including immigration officials. The information that the student provides to the college is protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. The school cannot legally share this information with third parties including the Department of Immigration and Naturalization (INS), now the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Also, not all AB 540 students are undocumented. Most are legal residents. AB540 forms are worded in a way so as to protect undocumented students from having to declare their status (they are grouped with US citizens and permanent residents). The affidavit says “IF” they are an “alien without lawful immigration status,” then they will pursue a means to change their immigration status when it becomes available.
Below is the wording for the box you check on the form and the affidavit you sign:
- “I am NOT a nonimmigrant alien (including, but not limited to, a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or alien without lawful immigration status.)”