Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients can now renew their permits online as of April 12, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This comes as CSUN has begun advertising a grant that will cover the $495 application and renewal fee that is due every two years.
Previously, DACA renewals were required to be mailed directly to the USCIS, which made the process susceptible to delays. These delays can temporarily leave recipients without their protections and work authorizations. Undocumented immigrants who are applying for DACA for the first time are still unable to apply online.
CSUN’s Dreamers, Resources, Empowerment, Advocacy and Mentorship Center, a place that provides resources like free legal services to students without legal status, received a $150,000 donation from the nonprofit The Change Reaction last November, which was used to create the DACA Assistance Grant. The grant is being used to cover the fees required to apply for, and renew, DACA permits for students.
There are approximately 2,000 undocumented immigrants enrolled at CSUN, and roughly 700 of those students may qualify for DACA, according to Daniela Barcenas, manager of the DREAM Center.
DACA, a program that was enacted under former President Barack Obama’s administration, grants temporary protection from deportation to eligible immigrants who were brought to America as children, while allowing them access to a work permit.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, in order to qualify for DACA, the individual must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, come to the United States while under the age of 16, and currently be enrolled in school, have completed high school, obtained a GED certificate or been honorably discharged from the military.
“[DACA] definitely makes it easier for certain undocumented people to navigate the world. Having access to employment and access to other resources that require a social security number, but doesn’t exactly solve their immigration issues,” Barcenas said.
CSUN students can apply for the DACA Assistance Grant online through the university’s Financial Aid & Scholarship Department. Applicants are asked for proof that they have either met with, or are going to meet with, an attorney for their DACA application.
Students who utilized the services of the Associated Students’ Student Legal Support Clinic or the Central American Resource Center of Los Angeles are also eligible for the grant. This process involves a DREAM Center representative confirming with these organizations that the student was helped by them.
The grant is also available to students who already paid for their application fees or to renew their permit. They can get a reimbursement by providing the DREAM Center with a bank statement proving they paid their renewal fees out of pocket.
“It’s huge, put it into perspective it’s $495,” Barcenas said. “If you’re a student working part time on campus, you can’t work more than 20 hours per week, that would be like one full paycheck … and that’s assuming that you’re able to put your whole paycheck into that.”