DACA/DREAM Resources

DACA Basics

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Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo
What is DACA?

DACA is an immigration policy. Its acronym stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and it was created by an executive order by President Obama on June 15th, 2012. It offers, as the name said, a deferred action on deportation to young individuals who fulfill certain requisites.

If an individual fulfills the requisites, he or she needs to submit an application and evidence required and pay the application fees.  The deferment last 2 years and individuals can re-apply once the two years are up.

What are the requisites for applying to this Deferred Action?

You may request DACA if you:
  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
How much does it cost to file a DACA application?

The application fees (as 8/2/17) is $465.00

Do I need a lawyer to file DACA?

No. There are great guides and instructions to file DACA. If you can afford a lawyer, you can shop around to find a good lawyer who can help you.  Follow our guide to find a reputable lawyer near you.

Avoid “notarios” or persons who are not qualified. Read our blog about “notario” fraud and how to prevent it.

How complicated is to file DACA?

Is it an intense process of filling forms and collecting evidence of your presence in the USA. USCIS asks to document the places you have lived, the schools you attended and will question any gap in documentation.

Is there any Guide to fill DACA?

Yes. There are several guides online. The official USCIS guide explains the process (follow this link).

Educators for Fair Consideration is a non-profit organization that posts great resources for undocumented youth and DREAMers. Here is their DACA guide.

How can I find an immigration lawyer?

An immigration lawyer in the USA is a professional who holds a Juris Doctor degree and has specialized in immigration law. This individual has passed a rigorous bar exam, has been accepted as a member of the bar association of his or her state and remains in good standing with the bar association.

Contracting the services of a good lawyer is a real task that requires some knowledge.

You can find an immigration lawyer at the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) website.

Read our blog post on the issue here. 

Are DACA individuals and other immigrants in danger during Trump’s visit to Arizona?

Local attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta recently posted a warning to anyone who is not a US citizen. He indicated persons who are not citizens should “stay away from any contact with law enforcement which can lead to an arrest.” He stated that “my recent experience is that even if you have DACA or other temporary protection (TPS, etc.) if you get detained and taken to 4th Ave. Jail IT IS VERY LIKELY you will be processed through ICE”.

Read more here.

Why is DACA in Danger Right Now?

The Program, who is very successful and has brought back from the shadows close to 800K persons is being threatened by several Republicans who are voicing the extreme right wishes of eliminating the program.

Can something be done to keep DACA?

Efforts are being made to keep the program going and avoid a move from the Trump administration to eliminate it.

Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Cubelo has introduced an amendment to an upcoming spending package to keep DACA intact. At the same time, 1,850 leaders from across the country are asking President Trump to keep the program.

The group is comprised of eight governors, five state attorneys general, more than 130 mayors, 230 state legislators, and a slew of faith leaders, among others.

You do not need to be an elected official to support the DACA_DREAMers.  Show your support participanting on their rallies, donating to their organization, writing letter of the editor and post your support on social media.

Together we can make a difference!

Executives to the Rescue!

We know most people support DREAMers and are upset President Trump may terminate the program as soon as today.  Among vocal supporters who are reaching out to the Trump administration, you will find top executives like the CEOs of Google, Apple, GM, Starbucks, and Facebook.

Here is an article that describes these efforts to save DACA. 

Politico Announces the End of DACA in Six Months.  It is Not an Official Statement 

Just in the middle of Labor Day Weekend Politico posted an article stating the end of the DACA program with six months delay, according to unnamed sources.

You can read the Politico article here.

We know anti-immigrant Attorney General Jeff Sessions is behind efforts to end DACA since he believes President Obama had no power to issue the executive order that created the program and that the deferred action should have been created by Congress. Besides, he is not the kind of person who gives opportunities to people of color.

Politico’s article is really opportunistic and the title misleading.  It is sending shockwaves among the young immigrants and their allies who had been stressed enough by the White House comments.  Reality is (as the same article acknowledges) 45’s administration is well known for its instability and “nothing is set in stone”.

DACA-DREAMers know if it comes to worse, the six month period before the ending of the DACA program may be a great opportunity to actually pass the DREAM Act, bringing a permanent solution to their woes.

This tweet by Gabe Ortiz sums our thoughts on Sunday:

In spite of all the support demonstrated all over the country, Trump cowardly announced the phase-off of #DACA program, which protected immigrant youth from deportation and gave them the opportunity to get involved in the economy.

Read here our blog about the overwhelming support DACA-DREAMers have.

Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund are steadfast supporters of DREAMers and we are proud to invest and fund their organizations.

We recognized their leadership and strive to nurture it.

Read our statement about our condemnation to the end of the #DACA program and our commitment to support their quest for justice.

DACA by the Numbers
  • Nearly  800,000 people are DACA beneficiaries across the country.
  • 1.1 million people were eligible for DACA, according to a 2014 Pew estimate.
  • California received the highest number of DACA applications at 223,000. Texas, New York, Illinois, and Florida are the top five states along with California.
  • Arizona has approximately 28,000 of DACA beneficiaries, and one of the higher rates of application to the program.
  • 95% of DACA recipients were working or in school, according to a 2016 survey.
  • About 72 percent were enrolled in higher education programs.
  • 54% of DACA recipients recently bought their first car, according to a 2016 survey; 12% bought a home.
  • 21% of DACA recipients work in education and health services, the highest of any other industry, according to a 2016 survey.
  • DACA helped raise wages: According to a 2016 survey, recipients made an average wage of $13.96 an hour, compared to $9.83 an hour before DACA.
  • 98 percent were bilingual and most said their ability to speak two languages is an asset to their employer.
  • The economy may lose $460 billion of GDP and about $24 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions if DACA is terminated.
  • 17 percent were married to an American citizen
  • 26 percent had a child who is an American citizen.
Arizona Attorney General Files a Lawsuit Against Public Universities Citing #DACA students as an Issue.

Brnovich finally did it. The Arizona Attorney General filed a bogus lawsuit against Arizona Public Universities (ASU, NAU and UofA) using the DACA-DREAMers issue as an excuse.


The number of undocumented students at the 3 Public Universities, does not amount to any significant use of resources that causes an increase in tuition of 300%.  Do not be mistaken: his motivations are purely political.

It is calculated DACA students comprise less than 1% of students at the 3 Public Universities are #DACA. The numbers do not add up. The only explanation for this action is “animus,” or in plain language, hate against young, mostly Hispanic, people.

We will see you in court!

Student Denounces DACA Student. Gets Expelled

Hate is real! Tayler Ragg, a student and Trump supporter reported a DACA classmate on social media thinking it would make him cool.  The former Transylvania University student posted a picture of the victim’s Facebook page and captioned it, “Everyone go report this illegal at my school.” Transylvania University is located in Kentucky.

Paola Garcia, who is a DACA recipient, started receiving harassing messages by social media and uploaded a video denouncing the actions of his fellow classmate.

After being accused of not intervening, the University personnel took matters into their hands, investigated and took action on the matter.

The Herald-Leader l reported that the student who allegedly targeted Ms. Garcia is no longer enrolled at Transylvania University. University officials would not comment on whether the student was expelled or withdrew on his own accord, citing federal privacy laws.

DACA Recipients File Lawsuit Against the Trump Administration

Six DACA beneficiaries aided by a team of legal luminaries have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s plan to end the program in six months which temporarily protects immigrants brought as children to the USA.

One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Luis Cortes Romero is DREAMer, a fellow immigrant, and one of the plaintiffs, DACA recipient Dulce Garcia, is also an attorney practicing in Chula Vista, Calif.

This lawsuit filed yesterday, 9/18/17 is the third on the ending of DACA.

Previously, Fifteen states filed a lawsuit earlier this month in New York. The University of California has also filed its own lawsuit over President Trump intention to end the Program without a Congressional solution in place.

Later in the day Monday, Trump’s attempt to shut down DACA was hit with another suit. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, better known as the NAACP, filed its own legal action in Washington, D.C. noting the majority of persons affected are people of color.

Republicans Introduce Conservative Act to Protect DACA

On Monday, September the 25th, 2017 2 Republican Senators introduced a conservative and slim alternative to DREAM Act called Succeed Act. You can locate commentary and information on social media #SUCCEEDAct.

This is a good graph made by DRM Action that summarizes the content of the bill.

Succeed Act

 

As we can see, it is a tougher bill that continues to scrutinize and delay any permanent status for the DREAMers.  For the DACA program young immigrants already fulfilled background checks and re-checks.

The End of DACA. Last Renewal Date Approaches

The cruel decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) is coming to a reality as the last day to renew a portion of all DACA beneficiaries sunsets this week.

Individuals who needed to renew between September 2017 and March 5th, 2018 have the last chance to renew until October 5th, 2017, when their application must be at USCIS (not postmarked).

DACA beneficiaries whose renewal period was March 6th, 2018 and beyond, were left out of this opportunity.

The DACA program, in theory, will start to end in cascade starting March 6th, 2018, giving some only 6 months chance to take advantage of this program.

What YOU Need to Know and Do Before DACA Phases Off

Here are the most important things you should know about the phase-out period:

  • Your work permit is valid until the expiration date in the EAD and you have the unrestricted right to work in the USA.
  • Your employer could not deny a job while the EAD is still valid and has no right to ask if you have DACA or if you are affected by the end of it.
  • Your employer should not dismiss you, not modify the conditions of your job until your EAD expires.
  • Your Social Security Numbers is yours to keep, but will not allow you to work legally past the expiration date on your EAD. You can continue to use the SSN for activities such as banking, or education.
  • In Arizona, the driver’s license will end by end date of your EAD
  • In-state-tuition is still available for DACA recipients in Arizona in spite of the legal challenges. The benefit will end with the expiration of your EAD. Register for classes as long as you can!
  • USCIS is not granting Advance Parole to DACA recipients anymore and most lawyers do not recommend to exit the country even if you have a previously approved AP.
  • Now is the time to work on a DREAM Act or similar legislation.  Organize friends, family, and supporters to call Congresspersons in Washington to support a good legislation to provide a path to legalization to undocumented youth. Organize, organize, organize. 
  • Stay in touch with the main organizing groups like United We DREAM and your local groups such as The Arizona DREAM Act CoalitionPuente, and Center for Neighborhood LeadershipAliento and Undocumented Students for Education Equity at ASU to push for a good legislation an report any possible detention of immigrant youth.
  • If you are arrested, contact an experienced immigration lawyer. Always have the number of a competent attorney at hand.