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Frequently Asked Questions - Engagement

Will DC continue to be a sanctuary city?

"The values, laws, and policies of Washington, DC did not change on Election Day. We celebrate our diversity and respect all DC residents no matter their immigration status. We are a sanctuary city because we know that our neighborhoods are safer and stronger when no one is afraid to call on our government for help, and when our police can focus on protecting and serving." – Mayor Bowser

What do I do if I or a member of my family feel stressed, anxious or depressed?

It is normal for people to feel stress, depression or anxiety with major changes, disappointments or the challenges of daily life. Some people get the support they need by talking to family and friends or a faith leader. Others identify ways to reduce stress that work for them—like exercise, healthy eating, or turning off the TV, or some form of meditation. Others may need more help. The one thing we know that doesn’t work is using drugs or liquor to ease the pain and try to feel better. If a person feels like they need someone to talk to or that the feelings aren’t going away, they can call our 24 hour Access Helpline (1-888-7WE-HELP) to talk to a mental health counselor.

Read more here:

What should I do if I or a member of my family experiences discrimination in Washington, DC?

The DC Office of Human Rights is a DC government agency that mediates and investigates complaints of discrimination, and works to prevent discrimination from occurring. Whether a resident, a commuter or just a visitor to DC, the DC Human Rights Act protects you from discrimination based on 19 traits (exceptions apply):

  • Race

  • National Origin
  • Sex

  • Marital status
  • Personal appearance
Sexual orientation

  • Gender identity or expression
  • Family responsibilities
Political affiliation

  • Disability

  • Matriculation
  • Familial status
Source of income

  • Place of residence or business
  • Status as a victim of an intra-family offense

If you believe you were discriminated against because of a protected trait, file a complaint with our office by completing the complaint questionnaire online at, or in person at 441 4th Street NW, Suite 570 North.

What should I do if I or a member of my family feels victimized?

The DC Victim Hotline is available 24/7 by telephone, text, or online chat. Through a partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants and the National Center for Victims of Crime, the hotline provides comprehensive information, resources and referrals in the District of Columbia. The new DC Victim Hotline represents an unprecedented collaboration of service providers in DC who are working to seamlessly connect victims of crime to free, resources and to help them navigate the physical, financial, legal, and emotional repercussions of crime. To contact the hotline, dial or text 1-844-4HELPDC (1-844-443-5732) or access the online chat at

What is the government doing to prevent bullying in schools?

What The Youth Bullying Prevention Program, housed at the DC Office of Human Rights, assists youth-serving agencies, grantees and schools with implementing effective bullying prevention policies. Our approach discourages an overreliance on discipline and instead adopts a public health approach focused on prevention, supporting at-risk youth and addressing incidents to change behavior.

For more information or to find what is happening in your school, visit

Can undocumented students enroll at a DC Public School (DCPS) school?

Yes. Children have a constitutionally protected right to equal access to education, regardless of their parents’ immigration status or their own.

Read the letter clarifying DC Public Schools’ policies regarding immigrant students and families.

Will this election impact how the District of Columbia treats immigration laws?

It’s important to remember that the transition to the new administration will not take place until January 20, 2017, and even then, any new immigration laws would have to be passed by Congress. And as Mayor Muriel Bowser reaffirmed on November 17, Washington, DC is a sanctuary city.

Where should I go if I am the victim of discrimination?

The District government, including DCPS, does not target people based on or collect information about immigration status. No agency, including our public safety agencies, will ever ask your immigration status. If this does happen, you should report it to the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights at 202-727-4559.

Where should I go if I need language access assistance?

The District government, including DCPS, provides free language interpreter services for people who need information in a language they understand when communicating with government. If you need
language assistance, please inform the staff member what language you need help with and an interpreter will be called for you.

In addition, schools have a desktop display of the most common languages. You can point to the language on the Language Identification Desktop Display, and an interpreter will be called to assist you.

What should I do if I have questions about my immigration rights?

For questions about enrollment and DCPS policies, contact the DCPS Student Placement Office at (202) 939-2004 or the Language Acquisition Division at (202) 671-0750.

The Language Acquisition Division at DCPS is also sponsoring upcoming workshops led by local legal services providers to inform school communities about immigration rights. For more information about these workshops, including dates and locations, please contact the Language Acquisition Division at (202) 671-0750.

Families can also find immigration legal help on the Immigration Advocates Network’s national directoryvof more than 950 free or low-cost nonprofit immigration legal services providers in all 50 states. The searchable directory can be found online at