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DACA Dreamers rush to renew permits; a majority of Americans support their fight; ICE raids continue

Esmeralda Fabián Romero | September 29, 2017

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Katia García, a DACA recipient from Los Angeles, at CHIRLA headquarters last year while renewing her DACA permit.

In Los Angeles, the lines to renew DACA permits are getting longer as the Oct. 5 deadline approaches, according to CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles, which has been helping about 40 immigrants a day renew their permits for free. The usual processing cost is $495.

The Trump Administration announced on Sept. 5 that it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Only immigrants whose permits are expiring between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018 — a total of 154,000 DACA recipients — can apply to renew their work permits, and they must do so by Oct. 5.

The renewal request form can also be sent by certified mail with a postmark of Oct. 5 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“If October 5 is the deadline for young immigrants, it should be the same deadline for members of Congress to take action on a DREAM Act,” said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA’s executive director.

The passage of a DREAM Act in Congress would be a permanent solution for DACA immigrants, but Congress has turned its attention to tax reform and health insurance instead.

A national survey last week by the Washington Post and ABC network found that 86 percent of Americans support “Dreamers,” who had been eligible for the renewable two-year work permits under DACA. And more than two-thirds of adults — 69 percent — “strongly support” DACA.

CHIRLA also denounced national sweeps that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted during the past several days arresting 498 undocumented immigrants. The advocacy group called ICE’s “Operation Safe City” a “cruel, absurd, and politically motivated enforcement operation.” One-fifth of those arrested were in Los Angeles. 

ICE indicated that individuals with active DACA permits were not targeted for arrest.

“Of those detained, 101 were our neighbors, family members, co-workers, and residents of Los Angeles,” Salas said. “The Trump Administration has taken one more step to intimidate immigrant-welcoming communities by moving forward with a national sweep that has negatively impacted at the very least 498 American families and several communities.”

Here are five things DACA recipients must know about the Oct. 5 deadline:

  1. If you are eligible to renew your permit but don’t start the renewal process by Oct. 5, you will lose your protection from deportation and your ability to work legally as soon as your current permit expires.
  2. If you can’t afford the renewal fee, in California you can turn to dozens of community organizations listed here, for financial and legal assistance.
  3. Read the DACA fact sheet here so you know all your options as a DACA recipient.
  4. This is the bilingual hotline operated by NALEO to assist you with any questions related to DACA, 1-844-411-DACA (or 844-411-3222). It will be available during the weekend.
  5. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has stated that there will be no extension for the renewal process. Read all the official guidelines here.

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