Despite having differed legal status, both undocumented and international students are entitled to the same protections under Title IX when facing sexual assault or harassment, and/or interpersonal violence. In an effort to respond to such situations, confidential advisors and resources are equitably available to all current students at NEIU to assist in navigating the barriers undocumented and international students may face in reporting.

Important Points to Remember 

  • International and Undocumented students can obtain a protection order by a court and/or NEIU’s No-Contact Order (on-campus only). For more information, please contact  Natalie Brouwer Potts, Title IX Coordinator at titleix@neiu.edu.
  • It is unlikely that you will be deported for reporting a crime against yourself. 
    • If you are now a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, possess a valid visa, or other valid immigration status, you cannot be deported unless you entered the United States illegally.
    • For more information or assistance, please visit the Community Resources page
  • If your partner or the alleged perpetrator is convicted of a crime, they may be deported, depending on their immigration status and the seriousness of the crime.
    • By seeking assistance from NEIU and/or our community partners, it is unlikely to result in the deportation of your partner or the alleged perpetrator. It is important to remember that keeping yourself safe is the priority. It is their actions against you that put themselves at risk, not you.
  • As an NEIU student, regardless of your immigration status, you can reach out to our Confidential Advisor for emergency and ongoing support related to sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.  The Confidential Advisor is not required to notify the Title IX Coordinator or NEIU of any sexual misconduct reports. 

NEIU’s Confidential Advisor
Rae Joyce Baguilat, Assistant Director
Student Leadership Development
Pedroso Center (B 159)
(773) 442-4686
confidentialadvisor@neiu.edu

Options for Undocumented and International Student Survivors of Dating or Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Sexual Assault 

Disclaimer: The information is provided below for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional and/or legal advice.

Know Your Rights

It’s important for you to be aware of the rights you have in the U.S. as an international student and/or undocumented student. 

To know more about your rights, please visit the ACLU Know Your Immigrants' Rights page 

Reduced Course Load Request For International Student Survivor of Sexual Violence

  • It is very common for student survivors of gender-based violence to either reduce their course load or take a break from school. International students with student visas should take into account that if they temporarily withdraw or drop below a full-time course load, they must receive approval from their Designated School Official (DSO) for F-1 visas or Alternate Regional Officer (RO) for J-1 visas, beforehand in order to avoid jeopardizing their status. If a student withdraws or reduces their course load without first getting approval from their DSO/RO, they will fall out of status.
  • Students are not required to tell their DSO/RO about a Title IX violation. 
  • DSOs/ROs can allow international students to temporarily withdraw or reduce their course loads without jeopardizing their status for two reasons:
    • Academic: International students are allowed to withdraw or reduce their course load only once (for first semester) during their academic program for academic reasons. If the person that harmed the student was part of the campus community (i.e. another student, faculty, staff,) students can argue this was the direct cause of their “academic difficulties.”
    • Medical: International students are allowed to withdraw or reduce their course load for up to 12 months due to medical reasons. In order to take medical leave, students are required to provide official documentation from a medical doctor and/or clinical psychologist.
  • If an international student falls out of status for less than five months, they can apply for reinstatement. In this instance, students must provide sufficient evidence to argue that the reason they fell out of status is “serious illness or injury.” Evidence includes, but is not limited to medical, psychological, and police records.
  • Students are required to fill out the Reduced Course Load Form and submit it to their DSO/RO.

Questions? Contact the NEIU International Student Office:

Stephanie Staaden
F-1 Coordinator, DSO
(773) 442-4068
s-staaden@neiu.edu

Claudia Gonzalez
Coordinator of Partnerships, RO
(773) 442-4799
c-gonzalez2@neiu.edu 

Right to Translator

All individuals regardless of immigration status are entitled to an interpreter when:

  • Talking to the police
  • Accessing court services
  • Participating in court hearings
  • Visiting the hospital

To request an interpreter, an individual simply has to call or visit and say, “I need a [insert language here] interpreter/translator.” 

The following community organizations have the following language capacities, and also employ trained staff who have experience working with survivors:

Immigration Relief Options

You might be eligible for a nonimmigrant visa if you are a victim or witness to certain crimes, including sexual assault and domestic violence. We strongly recommend you consult with our community partners for assistance.   

U Visa: Immigration Relief for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Other Crimes

A victim of sexual assault or domestic violence who is willing to comply with the law enforcement investigation or prosecution may qualify for a U visa. With a U visa, the victim can live and work lawfully in the U.S. for four years. After the victim has held a U visa for three years, they have the possibility of adjusting their status.

VAWA: Immigration Relief for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Other Crimes

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows an abused spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or an abused parent of a U.S. citizen, to self-petition for lawful status in the United States, receive employment authorization, and access public benefits. VAWA provides domestic violence survivors with the means that are essential to escaping violence and establishing safe, independent lives. 

For more information visit: 

USCIS: Explore My Options
American Immigration Council: Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Provides Protections for Immigrant Women and Victims of Crime Face Sheet

Confidentiality

As you’re thinking about reporting sexual violence, it is important to know the following about confidentiality: 

  • In Illinois, if you receive any services from a domestic violence or sexual assault agency, those agencies cannot tell anyone outside their agency that you have received their services. They can’t talk to your family, your doctor, or the University unless you give them permission to do so. 
  • The only time that a domestic violence or sexual assault agency can break confidentiality without your permission is if you tell them that you are planning to hurt yourself or to hurt someone else.
  • If you report to any NEIU employee, they are mandatory reporters required to share the information with the Title IX Office, which will reach out to you to try to help you. There are several offices at NEIU that are confidential and are not required to report sexual violence to the Title IX Office: Confidential Advisor, Office of Student Counseling Services, Office of Student Health Services, and Ombuds.

Additional Resources