Hundreds of young unauthorized immigrants also known as dreamers in Sacramento are rushing to local organizations for help filing renewal paperwork for the Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program amidst a looming October 5 deadline.
On Sept. 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the recension of DACA, which offers work permits and protects more than 790,000 young immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents, according to the latest U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services data.
That announcement has dreamers like University of California Davis Student, Eva Jimenez, not knowing what will happen next.
"It was really terrifying," said Jimenez. "I felt vulnerable and I felt that the cloud that had once stood above me had reappeared."
The phase-out of DACA allows for some dreamers, who were eligible to renew, to do so before October 5. The physical paperwork and $495 application fee must be into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by October 5, applications received after will not be accepted, according to the DHS website.
According to Mayor Darrel Steinberg’s office, there are about 13,000 people who qualify for the program living in Sacramento County. California is home to more than a quarter of the nation’s dreamers.
There are two dozen Sacramento based organizations helping dreamers file their applications before the Oct. 5 deadline. You may view a whole list of those organizations by clicking here.
The University of Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law has helped 25 dreamers file their applications and raised $3,500 to help those who can’t afford the $495 application fee. Immigration attorney and advocate Kishwer Vikkas with the McGeorge School of Law’s Legal Clinic, says the school began aiding dreamers in anticipation of the recension.
"These young people were brought here as children through no fault of their own,” Vikaas said. “They think of themselves as Americans”
The California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation has helped more than 150 individuals with DACA since September, said immigration attorney and spokesperson Marcus Tang. The CRLAF has also spent $25,000 to provide financial assistance to DACA applicants, all of those filing fees were raised through donations, contributions, and even a garage sale.