The California Department of Social Services is providing funds to enable certain nonprofits to renew Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) applications free of charge for low-income individuals.
DACA is an immigration policy that provides social security numbers and two year deferments from deportation for immigrants who entered or stayed in the country illegally before the age of 16. This allows recipients to live and work without the constant fear of being deported.
However, DACA status must be reapplied for every two years with a $495 filing fee.
Numerous nonprofits in Los Angeles and Orange County can now cover this charge for low-income applicants funded by the Department of Social Services.
The Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition shared three legal service providers that were ready to assist with DACA applications on its social media April 3, including the Public Law Center, World Relief Southern California and the Central American Resource Center.
Although the Central American Resource Center has had to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is still providing free legal services and limited renewal fee assistance for low-income immigrants remotely. Those who wish to make a phone appointment can do so online or by calling 213-385-7800X209.
Before their appointment, DACA renewal applicants should have available their current work permit, a copy of their previous DACA application, two passport photos, their passport if they have one, court disposition or clearance letters for any arrests and a marriage certificate or court order if their name has been legally changed.
While the process will be much easier and faster if applicants are able to print out necessary documents for the application themselves, documents can also be mailed between applicants and the Central American Resource Center.
Those whose household earns over 250% of the Federal Poverty Line will still have to pay for their own filing fee and a $200 legal services fee at the center.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services also cancelled many of its in person services including fingerprinting, also known as biometrics. DACA applicants who were unable to resubmit their fingerprints before the closures will still have their applications accepted, as USCIS will use fingerprints recorded from previous DACA applications.
A full list of California nonprofits providing help with legal services and renewal fees for DACA recipients using Department of Social Services funds can be found here.
The future is uncertain for DACA recipients as the legality of the immigration policy has been deliberated by the United States Supreme Court since November 2019. A decision is expected by June 2020. If DACA is rescinded, more than 800,000 individuals will lose their ability to work legally in the country.
The City of Long Beach was part of a collection of over 105 cities and counties that sent an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of DACA on Oct. 4, 2019.
“DACA has been crucial in helping so many Dreamers pursue their goals of contributing to their communities and nation,” Mayor Robert Garcia said. “I am proud to have the City of Long Beach sign onto the DACA amicus brief along with over 105 cities, counties and other municipalities. Long Beach stands with our immigrant residents and with immigrant communities across the nation.”