On September 5, the Trump Administration announced it would “wind down” Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program that protected nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth from deportation and allowed them to work and attend school. At the time that US Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement, he erroneously blamed DACA for the surge of refugees fleeing Central America, but he provided little detail about the logistics. That same day on Twitter, President Donald Trump added to the confusion by stating that if Congress didn’t pass similar legislation in the next six months, he would “revisit” the matter.
Since then the government has released more details, and we’ve learned that DACA won’t immediately end. The administration isn’t accepting new applications, but it is honoring current expiration dates. It is also allowing a select number to renew their applications. However, current recipients whose status expires before March 5, 2018 must apply before October 5. For many, coming up with the steep $495 renewal fee in a month is just not possible. Some DACA recipients have even turned to crowdfunding to meet the cost-prohibitive fee.
With their futures on the line, the renewal fee is just another burden, which is why nonprofit organizations, immigration rights activists, politicians, and other groups have raised thousands of dollars to go toward paying the costly charge. DACA isn’t perfect. It propagated the good vs. bad immigrant narrative, which vilifies their parents for bringing them into the United States. It also didn’t provide a much-needed path to citizenship. But ending the program is cruel to the nearly 800,000 who came out of the shadows and trusted the government with sensitive information.
Whether you’re an individual hoping to renew your protected status or someone with extra cash to donate, we’ve put together a list to help you find some of the people and places throughout the country fundraising to help those at risk of losing DACA.
Jolt x American Gateways
In Texas, Jolt, a civic engagement organization working to increase Latino voter turnout in the Lone Star State, has teamed up with American Gateways, an immigration legal services provider, to help raise money for Central Texas-based DACA recipients who are in need of renewal. The pair is fundraising on the Jolt website, with 100 percent of donations going toward renewal charges.
The State of Rhode Island
On Monday, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced that Rhode Island would pay renewal fees for all beneficiaries of DACA in the Ocean State. “We’re not going to allow $495 to get in the way of our neighbors’ dreams,” Raimondo said in a statement. “Now is the time to fight for our values and take action against hatred and bigotry.” The state has raised $170,000 to support Rhode Islanders in need.
The Resurrection Project
Chicago’s The Resurrection Project, a Pilsen-based group building community wealth, launched DACAfund.org to raise money for the estimated 9,500 DACA recipients in Illinois who need to renew their status before Oct. 5. Donated funds will go both toward renewal fees and legal representation, though individuals have a say in how their donations will be used. Also in the Windy City, 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis has donated $30,000 to the cause, and the Mexican Consulate has said it would provide some financial aid to Mexican nationals in need of both renewals and legal assistance.
The Philadelphia Foundation
There are about 5,800 DACA recipients in Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym is spearheading a fundraiser run through the Philadelphia Foundation to support those who need to renew before the deadline. “If you care about the future of our nation and its values, it’s time to take action,” Gym said at a news conference last week. Thousands of dollars have already been raised. Those who need assistance have until Sept. 25 to apply. Like in Chicago, the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia has also pledged to cover fees for Mexican nationals.
In the Grand Canyon State, Promise Arizona is raising funds to help DACA recipients with their renewals. According to the Cronkite News, about $3 million is required to pay for the application fees of the state’s 6,000 eligible DACA recipients. Promise Arizona has already obtained tens of thousands of dollars. They org is not alone. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)’s online campaign, Help AZ Dreamers Pay for DACA, has raised $15,000, while smaller networks and churches have hosted drives for the cause.
The University of Maryland
Political Latinxs United for Movement and Action in Society (PLUMAS), a student-run organization at the University of Maryland, is donating money it raised at a Dream gala to DACA-mented students. The group, which amassed about $3,000, is working with the university’s undocumented student coordinator to pay for renewal fees.
Charlottesville Families in Action
In Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists attacked anti-racist protesters in August, Charlottesville Families in Action (CFA) hosted a sold-out brunch to raise money for the renewal of DACA applications. “When you feel like something in the world is not going right, you try to change it yourself,” Kristin Clarens, the group’s co-founder, told CBS. CFA raked in more than $9,000 at the event.
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
In California, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) has started a campaign on the free social fundraising platform Click & Pledge Connect. More than 300 supporters have come together to donate $39,152. In addition to fully or partially covering DACA renewal application fees, the group will also provide free legal services to all.
Mission Asset Fund
San Francisco’s Mission Asset Fund (MAF) is prepared to donate $1 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 people in need of renewing their legal status. The nonprofit, which aims to build a fair financial marketplace for all, had the financial support of several foundations, including the Weingart Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The Chavez Family Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation. California-based, MAF will hold $500,000 specifically for students in the state. However, the scholarship, which can be applied for online, is available to those who need it throughout the country as well.
United We Dream
Also working to provide funds for DACA recipients nationwide is United We Dream, a Washington, D.C.-based immigrant youth network with affiliates throughout the country. Last week, the group started The Renewal Fund to gather money for those who need it. “For many DACA recipients who are students or low wage workers who often spend months saving up to pay for these fees, that is an extraordinary and unexpected,” the group said in a statement. United We Dream has brought in enough funds to support 800 young people, but it hopes to help thousands more.