By Barbara Muniz
Immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program received a chance for renewal as a way to maintain their current protective status. The deadline for renewal was Oct. 5, a month after the announcement the DACA plan was subject to change.
Initially approved by President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA, which ends for many participants in March 2018, reached a turning point when the Trump administration announced on Sept. 5 it would no longer honor the eligibility status for renewal. However, current participants still had an option to renew their protective plan. In order to do so, an application fee of $495 was needed.
According to a memo on Sept. 26 from California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley’s office not all immigrants will need financial help in th form of a scholarship fee to pay for the renewal, but for those who cannot afford to pay, a DACA fund will come into place through the Mission Asset Fund (MAF).
“Of the 154,000 Dreamers eligible to renew their DACA permits before the program ends on March 5, 2018, most are able to cover the application costs themselves,” emphasized Oakley.“For Dreamers who are eligible for renewal but cannot afford the $495 application fee, MAF has stepped in with a solution now available nationwide: scholarships to help Dreamers renew their DACA status.”
MAF collected funds in the amount of $1,000,000, but it tripled and it is now around $3,000,000, according to the chancellor’s memo. The nationwide fund is also considered “the largest of its kind in the nation,” and the amount is “enough to help 6,000 Dreamers renew their DACA permits for two more years.”
Thinking about what the DACA means for the Dreamers, Oakley added, “There is a great deal of support for the young people who know this country as their only home….California Dreamers, many of whom are our students, want to live life outside of the shadows so that they can study, earn a degree or certificate, work and build a future for themselves and their families,” Oakley said.
Even for those whose eligibility expired, Oakley urged them to search for options. “DACA recipients with expiring permits are encouraged to visit LC4DACA.org and apply immediately.”
According to Oakley, as of Sept. 16, 2,000 scholarships were still available from the initial 4,000. Around 900 of the applicants were from community college students.
The information regarding the DACA fund was sent to different departments so students and faculty staff could spread the message to as many people as possible.