San Diego immigration advocates helping Dreamers beat DACA deadline

Final renewals due October 5
Posted at 5:29 AM, Oct 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-03 15:58:32-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The deadline for eligible "Dreamers" to renew their DACA permits is Thursday, but San Diego immigrant rights advocates are working to make sure all of the applications are in on time.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started in 2012 under President Barack Obama. It gave children who were brought into the U.S. illegally the ability to apply for a renewable two-year work permit -- if they met certain eligibility requirements.

Current DACA recipients whose permits expire between September 5, 2017, and March 18, 2018, can submit their renewals until October 5. Those renewals need to be at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office by Oct. 5, and advocates say that means they need to be in overnight mail by Tuesday at the latest.

"The stakes are too high," said Kate Clark, an immigration lawyer with Jewish Family Service. "With this last opportunity to apply for renewal, there cannot be any mistakes."

The renewal application is actually three forms, and 10 total pages. It also comes with 32 pages of instructions. That can be hard for some immigrants to navigate, so advocates have been working overtime to help.

Groups like JFS, Catholic Charities, ReadyNow San Diego, Alliance San Diego and Border Angels have all held DACA application workshops to help people fill out forms. They say hundreds have shown up since President Trump announced his plans to end the program.

"Unfortunately for some, if they wait until the last minute, they will not be able to renew," said Itzel Guillen with Alliance San Diego. "The most common question we hear is what's going to happen next. What's gonna happen when my permit expires?"

Alliance San Diego estimates around 40,000 people in San Diego qualify for DACA, but only 10 percent of them fall in the current renewal window. Those are the ones they're trying to reach.

For everyone else, Guillen said they should get an immigration consultation or meet with a lawyer to find other forms of relief.