DACA Renewal Clinic Planned for New Bedford This Saturday
Although President Donald Trump may have put at least a temporary end to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the administration did allow a six-month window for those due for a renewal of their status.
Helena DaSilva Hughes, Executive Director of the Immigrants' Assistance Center of New Bedford, tells WBSM News that those eligible to renew their DACA status have until October 5 to file the proper paperwork with the Department of Homeland Security. She says her office has been busy helping file renewals on a daily basis, but she knows there are many more who still need help.
"We've been doing DACA renewals daily," she said. "(But) we are not getting as many as we thought we would. What we are getting is DACA recipients calling us for guidance."
DaSilva Hughes says that because a lot of people are working during the week, it made sense to have a Saturday informational and renewal clinic for DACA recipients. It will take place this Saturday, September 23, from 9 a.m. until noon at Immigrants' Assistance Center offices at 58 Crapo Street in New Bedford.
Those who are eligible to renew their status can bring the necessary paperwork, as well as the required $495 renewal fee in either a check or money order made out to the Department of Homeland Security. DaSilva Hughes says the high renewal fee may be keeping some from filing the paperwork, but notes that her office recently found out about a million-dollar fund established to help pay for DACA renewals.
"We only found out about this fund about five days ago, but it's a million-dollar fund that has been established in California specifically to help 'Dreamers' renew DACA," she said. "It's nationwide, but not too many people from Massachusetts have applied."
She said applicants can also apply for the funding directly by visiting LC4DACA.org.
Along with the renewal fee, applicants must also bring: a copy of their Employment Authorization Card (EAD); a copy of their original DACA application; certified court docket sheets, if there have been any past criminal charges; and two passport-style photos of the applicant.
DaSilva Hughes said there is a lot of anxiety right now in the immigrant community because of the uncertainty with DACA. She fears some might not want to renew their status because they're afraid of where reporting information to the Department of Homeland Security may lead.
"This question keeps coming up quite often," she said. "All the information regarding their parents, who are here undocumented, goes along with the (renewal) application. All this stuff goes into Homeland Security, so the question that keeps being asked is what is the Department of Homeland Security going to do with all this information? I can honestly say, I have no idea."
However, DaSilva Hughes noted that all of that information was first submitted with the person's original DACA application, "so renewing it isn't going to make it any worse," she said.