Senators Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein call for extension of DACA renewal deadline

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Lonnie Tague / Department of Justice/Creative Commons

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U.S. Senators Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., joined 36 other senators Monday in petitioning the Trump administration to extend the Oct. 5 deadline for the DACA renewal application.

The call for an extension comes in the wake of three major storms that affected Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico in September. If approved, however, the extension will apply to DACA recipients across the United States, including those in the Bay Area. The petition stated that as the storms have “significantly disrupted day to day living” in the affected regions, a deadline extension would provide sufficient time for current DACA recipients to gather the $495 application fee and necessary paperwork.

The Trump administration announced the end of the DACA program earlier this month. Individuals whose DACA status expires before March 5, 2018 may submit applications for renewal until Oct. 5.

Feinstein and Harris’ spokespeople said the extension is important to all DACA recipients, including Californian recipients, who make up about a quarter of all DACA recipients.

“The hope is to allow … eligible Dreamers, including Dreamers in California, due process to renew and receive the assistance for legal service and help with the application process,” said Harris’ spokesperson Brenda Gonzalez in an email.

According to Meng So, director of the UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program, many DACA recipients eligible for renewal are unaware of the Oct. 5 deadline and are predicted by experts to miss the “arbitrary date.”

Arturo Fernandez, an undocumented campus doctoral student, said he welcomed the additional time that an extension would offer DACA recipients, but he also explained that his support for the deadline extension is clouded by his overall attitude toward the DACA rescission.

“Dreamers … are being used as a bargaining chip in order to get some more hardline immigration measures in,” Fernandez said. “That’s not what DACA was meant to do, and that’s not what it means to … undocumented young people.”

Contact Olivia Nouriani at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @olivianouriani.